Thursday, February 26, 2009


A few of you have asked me how Cookie is doing with our new additions. Being that the people who asked are friends who also have horses and know Cookie...those questions are very valid ones. (Cookie is the one with the pinkish halter)

I've been riding Cookie for 17 years and owned her for 14, so we know each other inside and out. There really aren't surprises between us. I started riding her when I was almost 10, at my aunt's stable. I instantly fell in love and probably asked my aunt several times a week if I could buy her. She finally agreed, and I spent all the money I had saved from my confirmation and babysitting jobs to buy her when I was 13. Some of the best money I've ever spent!

To those of you who don't know Cookie, she's a great horse but she has her, shall we say, quirks. First of all, she's opposite of most horses that have Appaloosa breeding (though she's only half Appaloosa, half Paint). Most Apps are white with brown spotting. Nope, Cookie is brown with small, white spots. She also has one brown eye and one eye that is half brown, half blue. People are constantly asking if she's blind in that eye, and I've even been asked if she's possessed. Sometimes, she is.
Cookie is very reliable and has a huge heart, but she's different. She's a blast to ride and always does what I ask of her, even if it's not something she's comfortable with. She's awesome, but she's also a nut. Cookie is very flighty, but not in the normal sense. We can be out riding and a deer will jump out of the woods 2 feet in front of us, but she won't flinch. Four minutes later a leaf will blow across the trail and she will go ballistic. A car will back fire within 5 miles of us and you would think it was the start of WWIII. But I know these things. With Cookie, I know to expect the unexpected. And that's part of why I love her so much.

Cookie is also not the friendliest horse. Many people refer to her as, well, something I can't say on a family blog...let's just say it starts with B and rhymes with Itch. Anyway, that's what prompted the questions on how she's adjusting to Chloe and Chief. She's the type of horse that is hard to make friends, but once she has them it's hard for her to let them go. She's a dominant horse and in the wild would have been the dominant mare in the herd. Without a doubt. When we're out riding, she has been known to kick at strange horses, or at the very least pin her ears back and give warning looks. So far, she's doing okay with the new horses. It took a few days, but they are to the point where they will all eat from the round bale at the same time. Sure, Cookie's on one side and Chloe and Chief are on the other, but it's progress! The first 2 days they weren't even allowed into the same area of the pasture as her. It takes time, but soon enough, they'll all be friends.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Toe Job

This morning, as I was drying off after my shower, I was reminded that there are certain parts of my body that I cannot stand. I see these few parts and I just shudder. Where is she going with this, right? Don't worry, it's safe ground. It's not my belly or my butt, like lots of women. The parts of my body that I hate the worst? My feet and my nose.

That's right, I hate my feet and my nose is right there, too. Actually, to clarify, I only hate my heels and the only toes I hate are my big toes. They aren't big...they're HUGE. They are shaped like a mushroom and I think an entire family of Smurfs could live in my toes. I'm not kidding. And, my left big toe has a mole on it that is the exact size of a wood tick, so in the summer people are constantly telling me I have a tick on my toe. *sigh* I love my mom to death (Hi Mom!) but I have her to thank for my feet. The big toes, the unending calluses on the's great. When we go to get pedicures together with my sister (Hi Nanner!) the big joke is who will take the longest to get the pretty feet. Last time, Mom even told the lady that she might need an industrial sander for her feet. Funny, but annoying. The bigger downside to my nasty feet? I HATE wearing socks and shoes. I hate wearing them even more than I hate my feet, so you can imagine the amount of time I put into lotion and toe-nail-polish and anything else to make my feet somewhat presentable.

As for my nose, well....there's a song they sometimes play between shows on Noggin. I don't know who it's by or what it's called, but it's a larger African American man singing about his different body parts. When he gets to his nose, he says it's shaped like one of his toes. Yep, that's why I hate my nose, too. It is fat and has a mole on the right side (thanks again, Mom) Actually, one of the reasons I got my nose pierced is to try and draw attention away from the rest of my nose (that and I always wanted one). I hate it. I want a nice, thin nose. Yuck.

Now, I know that I could go and get a nose job, but I wouldn't do that. I don't think I would, anyway. But I may go for a toe job. Anyone know where I could get one of those? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Our New Family Members!

We have been talking about getting a new horse for the girls for a few months now, ever since George passed away. We scour the ads on Craigslist each day, looking for a good deal for the girls and possibly one for Andy, too. The market on horses right now is pretty wide open. There are a lot of horses for sale or even to be given away, as a lot of people cannot afford to keep and feed them with the state of our economy. This past weekend, there was a horse auction not too far from our house and we decided to go check it out.

We came home with two new horses. Alayna was SOOOO excited. She had come to the auction with us and as each horse came in the ring, she'd say "Can we get that one?! He's so pretty!" or "Look at how well-trained that one is. I could ride him...please?!" When one little mare came in, all three of us perked up a bit. She was little, but not pony-sized. She was calm. She obediently did what her rider said, without paying any attention to all the noise and people in the area. We got her for a steal. Then a few horses later, a yearling was brought in. Andy thought he was pretty darn cute and when the bidding dipped really low, we got him, too. Turns out that they were a mare/yearling pair!

So, here are "Chloe" and "Chief", our new family members. Chloe is in the front, Chief in the back. They are both Welsh/Saddlebred crosses.

Here's Chief:

Here's Chloe:

And both of them again:

We also have recently added 3 calves to our menagerie of animals. Here is the best picture I could get of the three of them, for a certain Monkey Mom who wanted to see them!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

She looks so sweet

And she is, she really is. But man, can she be a stinker! When I was pregnant with Mikayla, I told everyone that this baby would be our handful. She never stopped kicked and punching and rolling around in my belly, so why would being out of my belly be any different? At the time, Lilly was 2 and starting to show her funny, crazy personality, so everyone said "No, it will be Lilly! She's so much like her father!" Hahaha, I laugh at you all now!

Let's see...Mikayla is just a few months past her 2nd birthday. She was the first of our children to throw a full out temper tantrum. That's right, Alayna and Lilly never had a knock-down, drag-out tantrum. Mikayla had 2 in one day a few weeks ago. What about? We tried a dress on her and she refused to take it off. Threw herself on the dressing room floor, arms bent and clenched to her sides, feet flailing, lungs getting a heck of a workout. Yep, that was great. The second one that day? We had finally gotten the dress off and she wanted to put on a princess t-shirt Gramma was buying her. She started stripping in the check-outs at JCPenney and didn't like when I tried to keep her shirt on. Fun stuff.

This past weekend we were on a car ride and I looked back to check on the kids. Mikayla took one look at me and said "No, Mommy! Turn around!" If she's doing something and needs help, but I don't help her because I know she can do it, she responds with, "No, Mommy, YOU do it." Oh, it's such fun. She also has been known to "tell-off" random people with her gibberish and a pointed, shaking finger. No idea what she's saying, but her tone and mannerisms let you know it's not pleasant. And if you don't get told off but are on her list, she'll give you The Look. And she has it down almost as good as I do.

The latest? Just a few minutes ago I found her on the table. Yep, ON the table. When I told her to get down, she shook her head and said, "But I sit down!" She then put her thumb in her mouth and pointedly looked away from me. I guess I was dismissed. I didn't take the bait and promptly whisked her butt from the table. Two minutes later she was back up there. I don't know if it's because she has older siblings and kids here for daycare or what, but she's our handful, just like I always said she would be.

But don't get me wrong, she's also the sweetest thing. She's always randomly running up to give us hugs and kisses, telling us "I wuv you much" in her tiny little voice. She always says please and thank you, excuse me, and bless you, even when she herself sneezes. She likes to snuggle and be a helper. She's genuinely excited to see us or her sisters if we've been separated for awhile. But when she's got her groove out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gym Envy

Last night I was at the gym, like I am a few nights a week. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, our "gym" is a small fitness center with 3 treadmills, 2 elliptical, 1 stationary bike and about 12 targeted weight stations. Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

Anyway, I started out on the treadmill like I normally do. I was the only one using them and I was booking along at a 4.2 mph walk. That's a quick walk. No, that's a fast walk. I walk for about 7 mins, then jog for 3, walk for 5, jog for 3, etc until I hit the cool-down at 30 mins. I'm hoping that with this interval training, I'll at least get up to a steady jog. This works for me right now because I'm not a runner, but I want to be. I don't know if I ever will be one, but I'm working on it. I try.

Enter the girl who I've never seen before that takes the treadmill next to me. She starts at a nice walk and before I know it, she's running at 7.3 mph. Yeah, I looked at her read-out. She continued to run at 7.3 mph for 32 mins before she started her cool-down. And she had the nerve to look like she had just taken a stroll around the building. She was also about 5' tall. Grrrr.

Now I'm not a very competitive person, but I had some inferiority complex to be right next to her and walking while she's galloping along. But, I just kept reminding myself that just being there was a great thing and I was doing it for myself and my family. I don't need to lose any weight, but I know that keeping myself in shape now will only help matters in the future. I also kept reminding myself that she's probably been a runner for a long time. That helped. But wanna know what helped me feel better the most? Knowing that I could probably take her down in any other way, as long as she didn't get a running head-start.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Our Valentine's Surprise

Alayna has been learning about dinosaurs in science class and had been VERY interested in them. Each night she comes home and tells us the things she learned that day. Lilly has been taking an interest with her, so it's great to see Alayna teach Lilly what she knows. Of course, whatever the big girls do, the littlest tries to do. So while Mikayla doesn't understand the difference between a meat-eater or plant-eater, she knows what dinosaurs look like and that they roared.

While talking about Valentine's earlier this week, Andy and I decided to bring the girls to the Science Museum of Minnesota. We didn't tell them this, so Saturday morning we got ready and just left the house. The girls had no idea where we were going. When we were very near the museum, we realized the upper entrance to the parking ramp was closed. We had to drive past the museum and enter the ramp from below. Alayna instantly saw the museum and said "It would be so cool to go to the Science Museum! I bet they have dinosaurs and cool experiments there!" Hmmm, really? You can imagine her surprise when we went around and she could read that we were entering the Science Museum Parking Ramp.

The first thing we went to see were the dinosaurs, of course. The older girls were just enthralled to actually see them up close like that. They exclaimed several times over the size of them and both girls immediately studied their teeth to determine what they ate. They thought it was "sooo cool!" to give a direct quote.

The girls with the Triceratops
Alayna with an Allosaurus and a domed/turtle-like dino (think like those in Ice Age)

The Diplodocus from the floor above. This was the most impressive, being a big "long-neck."

Mikayla checking out the scenery

After the dinos, we went to the Human Body exhibit. Here we could do all sorts of fun things like learn about our eyesight, hearing, how blood works, what our muscles do, etc. Lilly's favorite part here was a girl that "sneezed" on you, then told you the mechanics of a sneeze. She probably got sneezed on about 20 times.

Lilly checking out the electrical currents in her muscles

The girls putting a cell back together

After visiting some other areas of the museum, we entered the Collector's Gallery. This is an exhibit that displays several different collections, from pottery to rocks to bones to animals from around the world. While the little girls played in the adjoining play area, Alayna spent about 30 mins looking at slides through a microscope. She LOVED it. She looked at sand, bugs, hair, tissue, etc. We literally had to pull her away from the scopes so we could finish the day!

Alayna and the microscope
Daddy and Mikayla check out a brown bear
Lilly building a tower

Mikayla doing a puzzle

We will definitely have to go back again. Alayna really wanted to take her time and read all the placards, do all the fun experiments, etc. But with Mikayla getting tired and other plans for the day, we didn't get as much time as she'd wished. We also would like to bring Alayna to the OmniTheatre, too, but the other girls are too small yet. So in the future, we'll be making another trip to the big museum.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all enjoy your virtual cupcake! The girls and I made them today and they are gooo-oood. Just in case you're curious, it's a funfetti cake mix, homemade cream cheese frosting and then the sprinkles. You'll need some milk, or at the very least some water.
Now, while you lick the frosting off your fingers and finish off your drink, here's a little list I put together:
V is for Valentine
A is for always
L is for love
E is for eternal
N is for nice
T is for tease
I is for intimate
N is for naughty
E is for energy
You can do what you wish with that list, I was just thinking "out loud"...

I think it's safe to say

Mikayla is least during the waking hours! She hasn't had an accident in two weeks and is telling us when she has to go, we're no longer asking her. She's survived hour-long car trips, shopping at the mall, church services, and endless hours at home. At nap and bedtime we still put a diaper on her, but most days she's dry after nap and she's been dry a few mornings as well. I can handle the sleeping diapers for awhile, that's nothing. And really, I'm not free from diapers since I do daycare. But to be almost free from them for my own children?! That's HUGE!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Size does not mean age

One thing that we've discovered with Marley is that due to her size, we sometimes forget her age. She is almost as tall as Sunny now, our larger-than-average Yellow Lab, but she's only 4 months old. That makes Marley still very much a puppy. But because she's so big we forget that and think she should act like a dog. We sometimes expect her to listen as well as Sunny, or know her place. But then we remember...she's only a puppy. She's not even into her pre-teen years when it comes to dog years. She's got lots of time before she's a dog and truly knows to listen and behave like she should. But, that being said, for the most part she's doing very well.

I've had a few people ask for updated pics of her, so here you go. The first is the night we got her, way back in November:

This pic was taken just tonight, in the filth and toys of our family room. The bowls are exactly the same, just different colors. She's grown a bit, eh?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We're having a heatwave...

...a tropical heatwave! The temperature's risin', it isn't surpisin'...

Okay, now that I have that song stuck in your head (which will always remind me of Grumpy Old Men, one of the Best. Movies. Ever.) I'll continue on with my post.

We are having a heatwave. It's been in the 30s and 40s for 3 days now. It's crazy. I like going outside and not having my lungs hurt and my nose freeze. Really, I do. But you know what I don't like? 30 and 40 degree days in February. Why, you ask? Because they don't last. They are a horrible tease to what is still to come, but not for at least another month. They also do nothing but wreck havoc on our area. The ground is still frozen, but snow is melting like crazy. Where does the water go since it can't seep into the ground? People's basements (not ours, thankfully). Then it gets cold at night, below freezing like normal for this time of year. So what happens? Ice. Everything becomes a huge skating rink and you are taking your life into your own hands to walk to the mailbox. It's nuts. I hate these winter "thaws".

But we did get the girls out to enjoy the snow this weekend before it all melted away. So here are some of their snow pics...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Klutziness runs in the family

If you know me, you know that I'm a HUGE klutz. I'm talking trip-over-absolutely-nothing-and-come-up-bloody klutzy. I'm bad. Unfortunately, our children seem to have taken after me on the klutz-front and it's been very apparent these last few days.

We have had:

*a chipped tooth for Alayna, which thankfully was a baby tooth
*a completely purple knee from Alayna falling on tiled floor
*a purple chin from Alayna slipping on the ice (when she chipped her tooth)
*a bruise on Mikayla's cheek from her falling down the stairs (though Marley helped with this one)
*a konk on the head for Mikayla when a picture was knocked off the wall and bounced down the stairs and hit her
*a bad scratch on Mikayla's back from her dancing in the bathroom and falling against the cabinet

And honestly, all those things have happened in the last 2 days. Yikes. Add that to my various bruises and burns, and we're quite the sight for sore eyes. Only Andy and Lilly are unscathed at this point, but now that I wrote that they won't be. Sorry guys!

But a good thing...remember that vague post from a few days ago (the one right before this) about not changing any dirty diapers or panties for however many hours? Yep, still going strong. It's been since Friday and she's even been dry at night! And on that note, I was just informed someone has to go potty...

Monday, February 2, 2009

I don't want to jinx us, but...

...I haven't changed a wet or dirty diaper on my own child in over 48 hours. This is huge!

Groundhog Day 2009

I haven't heard about Phil and if he saw his shadow or not. To be honest, I can never remember what seeing his shadow says about spring anyway. I do, however, know one thing for sure. I know that when I let the dogs out this morning, I saw my shadow. I also know that when I let the dogs out this morning, it was only 6 degrees.

So what's my prediction, based on those two facts above? It's cold, the sun was shining, there's still a whole lot of snow to melt and spring won't be here tomorrow or anytime in the near future. Cheers.