Thursday, February 18, 2010

Every Night...

...we go out to the barn and feed our funny-farm full of animals. They always seem to know the difference between someone closing the house door to leave vs. closing the door to come out to the barn. Maybe they hear our boots, maybe they are psychic. I don't know. But the animals can tell the difference and get all lined up. So for my "city" friends, I'll give you a pictorial account of our nightly chores. *All these pics were taken the evening of Feb 15.

First off, the dogs can hardly wait to get outside and run and play in the snow while we're out feeding everyone.

When we enter the barn, we are greeted by the cats. We have 6 cats and they all come out of hiding once the barn door opens. We never know where to find them. Sometimes, they're in the rafters... (this is one of the 3 identical black cats. They are named Blackie, Midnight and Kitty, but we can't tell them apart)
...or waiting for us on the fence separating the calves and horses...(Sid, our newest addition. She's kind of an idiot, but really sweet, so we named her after Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age movies)

This is Coonie, the stray that showed up hungry and scared on our back porch this summer as a kitten. He's certainly not hungry or scared anymore and is our most friendly cat.

Another of the black cats, nestled on the stack of hay bales.

The third black cat, sitting on the other side of the barn in the rafters on top of some spare plywood. I didn't get a picture of Stormy, our gray cat who is very crabby, moody and skittish. She will let us pet her, but it's never her idea and she doesn't like it. Typical cat.

As soon as the calves notice we're in the barn, they come running. We have 12 bull calves at our house right now, so we feed them in 3 different bays of feeders. They stink and are noisy, but what can I do. I have to compromise with my husband. And like he always tells me, I'll like them in a few months once they are fed out and sold...

Once the calves are fed and the water is full, we feed the horses. This little lady is Belle. She's one of the new horses we just got a few weeks ago. Belle is a 1.5 year old Quarter Horse/Arabian cross. She's so friendly and curious for her age!

And here's Bingo. He's the other new horse, a Morgan gelding. He's also super friendly and kind of takes on the fatherly role of the horses. We're so glad that they get along with Chloe & Chief as well as they do!

And of course, Chloe and Chief are waiting for some grain, too. Alayna is anxious to start riding Chloe again this spring and I'm hoping to train Chief this summer. Wish me luck!

Chief is watching the cats come trailing behind us.
We went out to check on the round bales we have in the pastures for the horses and calves. Whenever we walk into either pasture, the cats and dogs always follow us. It's pretty funny to see a train of animals following us around. Can you find the 2 cats in our bonfire pile for next summer?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Down by the Bay

Here are the musical stylings of Miss Mikayla. She'll be signing autographs when she learns how to write her name...

I posted earlier today, too, a big update...

So this is the deal

We've been crazy busy lately. I know that we are always busy and have lots of stuff going on, but lately it seems like I meet myself coming as I'm going. I actually had a moment of panic last week because I thought it was Wednesday and we'd missed an appointment, but it was actually only Monday. Yeah, I told you so.

So here are some random picture updates of what we've been up to...

Marley isn't allowed to be on the furniture, so this is her way of compromising...
We had a belated birthday celebration for Mikayla. Since it was her 3rd b-day, she got Power-Wheels from Gramma and Grampa like her older sisters.

My sorry, last-minute attempt at a CandyLand-esque cake for the birthday girl

Mikayla gets ready for a fashion show

Sunny got cold during a snowy day inside
Mikayla settled in reading books

What these pictures don't show are all the other things that have gone on. Alayna hosted her first sleep-over with more than one friend. She also attended her first sleep-over. The second quarter at school finished up and she got all A's on her report card. We're very proud of all the hard work that she does each day in school. She also found out that she'll be able to go to 4H Horse Camp this summer, as well as sleep-over bible camp! She can hardly wait for summer and time spent playing outside, riding bike and horse, camps and camping and the fair!
Lilly has been doing great with her reading. She's always been more artistically and mathematically inclined, so we haven't pushed reading until she approached us. Personally, I think the catalyst was when I volunteered at the school the other day and one girl in her class read me a beginner's book. That night Lilly brought me a book and said, "Let's work on reading." Since then she's done really well with her beginning words and sounding out harder words. Of course, she's still always drawing and coloring and practicing her numbers. She will also randomly spout off things like, "Mom, did you know 3 plus 3 is 6?" or "Dad, what's 10 plus 5? It's 15, right?" She can't wait for summer and camping, but she also has a new goal for the summer. She says that this summer she'll learn to ride with 2 wheels like Alayna.
Mikayla is growing like a weed and keeping us all on our toes. She's always in motion, trying to be like the big girls. She "reads" stories to her friends and toys, she changes her clothes 2-3x daily if I'm not paying attention, and her outrageous imagination has me constantly thinking, "I need to remember she said/did that!" She still loves her animals so much and is often found laying on the floor, snuggled with the dogs.
Andy and I are good and busy, too. He's constantly helping this person or that with whatever they need. Then he races home to watch the kids while I try to hit the gym or go to a meeting. I was nominated vice-chair of our school's PTA-like group, and we all just completed a very successful musical fundraiser for our church. In addition to all that, we've added another cat to our menagerie and 2 more horses (post about them to follow when I find time to take pics of them)
So yeah, we've been busy. But that's life with 3 kids. Hopefully this helped fill the void for awhile and I'll be back to posting regularly soon. I miss posting, but some days it's all I can do to make a nutritious meal for the family. But that's okay, because we're all healthy and happy. That's what really matters.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I's gots me RED on

Are you wearing red today? I am. Wanna know why?

Today is National Wear Red Day. Heart disease is the #1 health threat for women, but few people recognize that and think the #1 is breast cancer or other types of cancer. The worst thing is, heart disease can often be a silent danger. The person with heart problems may not realize it until it's too late.

I lost my gramma 8 1/2 yrs ago to a massive heart attack on Sept 9, 2001. I was floored and had no idea that gramma was at risk. Maybe she didn't know herself. Looking back, she had some risk factors but nothing that put up the huge red flag. Now I wish that we'd all noticed something, some way, to help her so that wouldn't have happened. She only knew Alayna for about 9 months, and never got to meet Lilly and Mikayla. She didn't get to come to my wedding. She didn't get to see her other grandchildren graduate from high school, or her own children celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries. I miss her with every holiday and family gathering we have.

So please, support the National Heart Association. Please look at your own health and see ways that you can improve your life and decrease your personal risk for health disease. Be evaluated by your doctor to determine if you have any risk factors. Be proactive about your health and your life. You owe it to yourself and those that love you.