Thursday, April 13, 2017

Horse Mania and More!

Lots has been happening lately!  I guess it's that time of year again...lovely spring.  School programs, sports, baby horses born....busy times!

Maggie had her second grade program a couple weeks ago--filled with cute songs and Maggie's smiling face!  She did great on her part and loved being on stage (shocking).  I can't believe she's going into 3rd grade next year!  Even though I've seen this program 3 times now (I'm even starting to learn some songs) it is cute seeing each child's different personality.  Tyler was new at school during his and was guessing on most of the words, Jake stood there unsmiling and barely pretending to mouth the words to the songs, but Maggie was on the top of the world--smiling the WHOLE time and singing her little heart out.  I think she would have preferred a solo show--MAGGIE'S SECOND GRADE PROGRAM.
General Conference was a week ago.  We watched most of it on tv -- we've pretty much given up on the kids sitting and listening and taking notes on their primary handouts.  At this point we consider it a success if they stay in the room.  So We brought in and dumped out the entire bin of Legos--it worked pretty well!  (They weren't so happy about clean-up though...)
Last Monday we decided to do something as a family instead of working on the yard.  So we hit Bam Bam's BBQ (drooling) for lunch and then went to the BYU baseball game.  It was so fun!  Mostly because we met up with Grandma Calder who didn't hesitate to dole out treat after treat!  I think between us all we had just about everything on the menu.  It was really a blast (BYU lost though).
We always let the kids get a CougarTail (a 2 foot long delicious maple bar) at BYU events.  We hadn't gotten one and Joey asked grandma: "Can I have a pony tail?"  Grandma, "A What?"  Joey: "I mean a raccoon tail."  "Huh?"  It took her a minute to figure out he really wanted a cougar tail!  Just couldn't remember the name.  Well, he got his treat!

Over spring break we stuck around here while Eric worked but we did some fun stuff during the day. On Wednesday we went to Salt Lake City and walked through the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (we even saw Elder Bednar), temple square, had lunch at the Garden Room, and went to the church history museum.  It was a nice getaway and fun to take the train up there too!
We went up to see the Christus statue and while running up the spiral path Joey pranced along singing, "I'm going to heaven!  I'm going to heaven!"  If you've been there you know there is a huge spiral path leading up to a second floor and the entire path is painted with a huge mural of stars and planets and space.  It is really beautiful and I never though about it, but it does kind of feel like going up to heaven!  At the top we had the kids pose for a shot--Joey MAY or MAY NOT have slightly climbed on it before I could stop him.  Luckily I caught him before he started swinging on an arm or something.
Taking the train to fun town!
Tyler is progressing awesomely at scouts.  He's close to getting his eagle.  I couldn't make it to a court of honor but my friend snapped this cute pic of Eric and Ty (Eric is the assistant scoutmaster).  I just love Tyler's face in it! (And we have bought him a shirt that actually fits him since this pic was taken....)
Eric and the boys went camping with some friends (more on that in a minute) so me and the girls from our friend's family (we love you Carly's!) decided to try our hand at some homemade creme brûlée.  I hate this picture of me but I had to show off our handiwork---it was crazy delish!
As I said, Eric, Tyler, Jake and some friends (Jim, Porter and Eli Carly) went down to Escalante and camped/hiked Coyote Gulch.  Apparently (since I've never been) it is an awesome hike through a canyon with a river in it, waterfalls, slot canyons, slick rock, etc.  I am so proud of my husband--he took so many amazing pictures!  Since I didn't go I don't have too much commentary about the funny/disgusting things the boys did, but the picture look amazing!  I can't wait to go myself some day!
Tyler headed down into a slot canyon.

They had to hike through the river a lot...
Is this amazing or what!  I'm so proud of Eric for taking pics!  He even did a group shot.

This looks awesome.
Love these two boys!  Especially when they are getting along!
Not sure how I would feel about this part if I were there....

I hope this part wasn't as treacherous as it looks!
So I know that's a ton of pictures of the hike but it is only a fraction of what eric took!  But it gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like. 

A few nights ago we got a call from Jessica that our horses got out (of course it was the middle of the night--it couldn't have been during the day, that would have been too easy).  She said the sheriff was there (and none too happy about it) and that they had corralled them into a large field about 3/4 mile from her house.  She told us to "follow the lights" to find them (at that point we know it wasn't good).  Luckily once we got there we were able to catch them without too much trouble (it's amazing what a little corn will do) but then we had to walk them the ways back to Jessica's house.  We must have looked crazy walking horses in the middle of the night down the street.  We got them back ok, it was odd that the gate was wide open.  We do have a horse that knows how to shake the chain on the gate enough to get it to open so we figured that's what happened, even though we try to make sure the chain is in a place she can't get it.  Well I found out the next morning that a friend's horses had gotten out around the same time in the same way--the gate was wide open!  Although I can't imagine someone driving up Jessica's driveway to open the gate it is awfully coincidental that it happened on the same night as our friend's (and the other place was the field where we used to keep our horses!--even MORE coincidental).  At least it was a bright full moon--we didn't even need flashlights to catch the horses.  

So the biggest excitement/stress/surprise came early this morning.  Well, I guess I need to go back a couple months.  We have 2 horses we tried to breed--Dutch and Crazy Alice.  Crazy Alice was due a month before Dutch, but we were positive Dutch did not get pregnant.  Even the guy helping with the "breeding process" said that.  But we knew for sure Alice was.  So we waited.  A couple months ago the boys called while Eric and I were out on a date saying there was a dead deer head in the middle of the driveway.  ????  So Eric and I headed home and went and checked it out.  It took us a minute to realize what we were looking at--it was definitely a head, but also what looked like a little leg, and it had no fur and the skin was pink and translucent.  After a few seconds Eric said, "That's not a deer--that's a horse!"  We looked at the back side of the horses and from what we deduced Dutch actually had gotten pregnant and this was her miscarried baby.  We got flashlights and searched the field for more "parts" but didn't find much more than a leg and bloody spot in the snow....and lots of dog prints going off in all directions.  Yuck.  
So we let some time pass and kept getting ready for Crazy Alice to have her baby.  We figured she'd have it around the middle of March.  We waited but no baby; we looked at her belly and she didn't look pregnant; we felt it and didn't feel any movement.  We then figured it must have been ALICE'S baby that was miscarried and we now have no pregnant horses.  Ok.  Oh well.
Then this morning we got a call from Jessica (where the horses are right now) saying we have a baby horse!  WHAT?!  So now we figure Alice didn't miscarry and just went into labor a little late.  Eric wen't up briefly before work, mostly to check out the foal's legs (the front feet are wonky) but we've since found out they will be just fine and it is common.  Then I went up a couple hours later and things were weird....Alice was taking no interest in the baby--in fact, no one was.  Except for a couple of the horses coming over and biting her making her yelp.  GRRR!!!  Stupid horses.  I called Eric and told him something was off--the baby was just laying down and not nursing and no other horses were paying attention to her except to bully her.  Eric called Rex and he said that because the foal was brown it COULD NOT be Alice's and was, in fact, Dutch's baby!  Holy Hannah!  We went up and looked and lo and behold, Dutch was bloody-ish behind and full of squirting milk.  So we figure out that since Alice lost her baby, and Alice is also leader of the pack, that she had bullied Dutch away from the baby and was trying to either claim it as her own or do away with it.  It was a real emergency--this foal had been without any food at all since birth--and it essential they eat in the first hour of being born.  This poor little foal was on the verge of dying!!!!  It was a serious situation--Eric and I met up there on his lunch break.  He separated mom and baby from the rest of the horses first thing.  Mom and baby then started hanging around each other, but the baby was so weak she could barely stand up.  We tried getting her to latch on but the damage was done by Alice and she couldn't figure it out.  Poor thing was so hungry she would suck on anything from my hand, to her mom's knees but she just couldn't find the teat.  So we hustled and milked the mom to  get at least something in that foal and fed it to her through a syringe in her mouth.  It was messy and tricky but we together managed to get about 8 oz in her.  Eric had to go back to work so I stayed and working for another 2 hours got another 6-7 oz in her.  But she kept laying down because she was so weak.  And no matter how hard I tried I could not get her to find the nipple.  At one point she basically fell down, closed her eyes and was breathing very rapidly and I thought I was watching her die.  I have to say I broke down in some tears at that point.  I kept feeding her as much as I could but then had to go. 
Luckily Eric was able to get a hold of the horseman we bought Dutch from and he sent his daughter (who we have now dubbed The Horse Whisperer) down to help.  I went back up and she had the foal on the nipple for a few seconds at a time!  She showed me how to do it, then we milked and fed the baby 2 bottles worth of milk, and kept working with her to nurse.  She finally started catching on!  She is still very weak and needs support to eat so for the next few days we will be up there every 2-3 hours (fun for us--yes at night too) making sure she is getting all the nutrients she needs.  The girl also showed us some tips with our other horses--she is seriously amazing.  But by the time left at 8 pm the baby was nursing better on her own.  We will still be checking on her but I think everything will turn out ok.  It really was touch and go there for a while.  But here is mom, and baby resting after a hard time working on feeding.  Wish us luck with this duo!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Snow Glad It's Spring!

Spring has come with a vengeance, in true Utah fashion.  Winter was long and snow-filled and then suddenly it was 75 degrees and sunny!  Then it rained.  Then it was sunny.  Then it rained.  And it rained again.  Today it is sunny but now it is supposed to rain some more and even snow!  Goodness. I got myself all excited about some warm DRY days ahead but I'm left with disappointment.  I know we need the rain, but I need my concrete poured in my backyard.....my needs should trump the rain, right??

Well, even though spring is a big tease, we enjoyed some snowy days as winter came to a close.  With a little family help we got the mini-4-wheeler running and the kids have been enjoying feeling adventurous riding around.  Joey had to wait his turn though...
 Maggie tried doing some donuts on the driveway.
 Look at that little pink fluff ball go!  She said something funny the other night.  I always tuck my kids in, just about every night.  It is a great time to connect with them about their day for a few minutes and get some hugs in before they go to sleep.  I like doing it...WHEN they are actually ready for bed when I come to tuck them in.  However most nights I come downstairs and they haven't yet gotten in their pjs, or brushed their teeth, etc.  So I end up standing around waiting for them while they do that, then I don't want to hang out as long because I've already been down waiting for them for 10 minutes.  It drives me nuts.  One night, after waiting an eternity for Maggie to change and brush her teeth and pick up her towels and on and on, I finally told Maggie she would have to tuck herself in that night because she was taking so long.  I meant it too--I was tired of being taken advantage of!  I determined to teach her a lesson right then and there, that if she couldn't be ready on time she would have to tuck herself in.  She said, "I can't tuck myself in, only you can!" I asked her why she can't tuck herself in and she told me, "Because I'm not a professional tucker-inner like you are."  Well, who can argue with that?  So I tucked her in.
 In the front room of our house we have our piano, and (shockingly) it is where all music practice happens--piano and guitar.  Most of the time, when the kids start to play their song, Ziggy will prance into the room, sit or lay down, and start singing along!  OOOOwwwwwwwww, oooooowwwwwwww, wwoooowwwww...."  We laugh so hard about it every time and she always does it (except of course when we try to show someone).  She's loud too!  For a dog that hardly ever barks, she's got quite the set of pipes!  Here she is showing off her skills....
 Every year at school the kindergarten does what they call a "Kindy 500."  It is a day where the kindergartners bring in cars they've made of cardboard and "travel" the USA (around the school to different stations where they talk about different places).  It's pretty cute--they get assigned license plate states even.  This year Joey got Rhode Island so we decided to make a fishing boat!  I tried my best to be creative director (a difficult feat for me since I am a little bit of a control freak).  That's why his boat isn't cute painted white with wood lines, etc.  He wanted it yellow, blue and green.  I even let him paint a lot of it (mom points for that one).  We put a fishing pole on the back with a bowl of gummy worm bait (which lasted about 5 minutes before the bait mysteriously disappeared).  He had a ton of fun!
 Tyler got in as much skiing as he could this winter--he skied every single run at Sundance, even the double black diamonds!  He went a lot with his friends.  Eric said he's getting so good he's having a hard time keeping up with him!  Tyler really loves to ski, and now that he's got his yellow pants and helmet he loves it even more.  Now he just needs a yellow jacket and he will look like a giant banana cruising the slopes!
 Jake had his first and only Pinewood derby last week.  When deciding how to design his car I asked him one very important question, "Do you want to design a fun looking car, or do you want to win?"  Because I've learned you can't have it both ways.  Without hesitation he looked me in the eyes and said, "I want to win."  So we went to work.  Tyler did 2 Pinewood derby and his first car he made a cute bear design.....and lost.  The second time he wanted to win so we did some research and designed a speed magnet and (drum roll) he took first place!  So we did the same design for Jake's car, different paint job.  There was a lot of smack talking going on with those cub scouts so I was worried whether or not the "Soccer Screamer" (as Jake dubbed his car) would pull through.  Well (second drum roll) it didn't fail us!  Jake took first place and was so happy!  It was a close race but only one can bring home the Golden Hot Wheel Trophy.....

 The kids had a day off school so I took them and some friends to Lowe's Airports.  They have a new Ninja Warrior course.  It looked so fun!  I wanted to try it but I had on flip-flops so they wouldn't let me.  But even Joey tried!
 Joey didn't make it past the first bumper (he's a little too short) but Tyler made it all the way through, and Jake did awesome too!  It was fun to watch.
 The rock show comes to Spanish Fork once or twice a year, so when we saw it was coming last week we had to go.  Jake has turned into quite the rockhound.  He wants to be a geologist when he grows up....and I think he actually might!  He's got a huge rock collection and keeps adding to it.  He was in seventh heaven at the rock show.   All the kids loved it.....for me, it's a little stressful keeping track of everyone.  Here's Maggie showing off her brute strength.... (it's pumice and weighs only a few ounces).
 Here's a sunny day riding the 4-wheeler...I think Utah has the craziest weather!!!!
 I got roped into helping Joey's class on a field trip to Thanksgiving Point.  I have been on field trips before and NEVER enjoy them--way too much stress.  But the teacher needed help so I told her I would go.  The bus ride up was LOUD but I had a great bench buddy....
 The kids got to see some really fun stuff...lots of animals, riding ponies, having lunch....all was going great (much better than expected)......until a horse bit one of the boys in my groups fingers.  Chomped it.  A big huge draft horse.  All I heard was a scream, look down and see the horse with it's head out the gate, teeth bared, chomped down on this little hand.  Yikes!  I boinked the horse on the nose and he let go after a few seconds but the damage was done.  The poor little guy had a big scrape on his finger and it looked so sore!  I quickly bandaged it up and hoped not too many others saw what a terrible parent helper I was!! Maybe this will be my last field trip.....
 Last night was super fun--Eric and I went to a nice dinner and Salt Lake and then saw The Lion King musical at the new Eccles Theater.  It was awesome!  I loved it.  Here's my sad attempt at a selfie---I need more practice I think.
One cute story--the other morning Maggie came upstairs before school and said, "Mom, how long does the wetter take?"  Me: "What?"   Maggie: "How long will my clothes take in the wetter?"  Me: "You got your clothes wet?"  Maggie: "They are in the wetter."  Me: "What is the wetter?"  Maggie: "You know, you put them in the wetter to get wet, then you put them in the dryer to dry them?"  Ha ha.  (She was talking about the washing machine).   I thought that was cute, and also pretty logical--if the one that dries is called the dryer, then the one that wets should be the wetter!  Kids are so funny.  Why do adults have to complicate everything?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Look Who's Posting Now?

So I've been experiencing pangs of guilt lately--I supposed there are many things I could have these over...the pint of Ben and Jerry's I ate Friday night, the way I got angry at my kids for their mess, the fact that I haven't solved world hunger yet.  But my guilt isn't from any of those things; it's from the fact that I have been neglectful about my blog.  Now I don't keep up the blog to showcase my admittedly amazing incredible life...I keep it up as a family chronicle, a journal complete with stories and pictures of our goings-on.  The reason I feel so guilty lately is because the kids have been LOVING reading the book I made out of my blog.  They laugh at the stories and pictures of themselves, all the silly things they used to say, they remember the fun vacations we took and things long forgotten.  And as I read the stories that I had written, I realized all those daily things, the cuteness, annoyances, craziness, messes, up and downs that you think you will always remember....well, you don't.  And so I am making a renewed commitment to my family to be better about this little family record, silly as it may be.  And someday when I am old and gray and maybe even long gone, they will have these memories to look back on and remember all the good times we had together.

I did notice in my old blog book that I used to write with much more finesse than I have for a while.  I thought for a minute that perhaps I have gotten boring, or the kids have sucked all my creative brain cell away.  But I realize, it is a 2-fold issue: 1--the fact that I wait so long between posting makes me have to catch up on 6 months at a time--and I can't sit at a computer screen detailing the little things trying to cover that amount of info, and 2--I came to the realization that it is not ME that has gotten boring...it's my kids.  I'm still as interesting as ever, but my kids are outgrowing that sweet innocent stage where the silly things they say and do are just that, silly and cute.  Now, however, when my kids do those same "silly" things I tend to find them more annoying than cute.  Case in point--making a picture on the bathroom counter out of broken Q-tips used to be adorable.  In current times though I find myself saying, "Who broke my entire box of new Qtips!!  I just bought those!!  What a mess."  Ok, maybe I'm not THAT bad, but no one can argue that a 13-year-old boy is as cute as he was when he was 3.  But I digress, back to my point, I figure if I can update the blog more often then I will be able to remember and include the cute little things that get forgotten so easily.  So here's my attempt at keeping current...

The kids like to steal my phone and even though I have a passcode on it, they can still work the camera...and boy, do they work the camera.  In a world where they are surrounded by screens it makes sense my kids would want to be on one themselves.  I find literally countless videos the kids have taken of themselves and each other--Joey's videos are usually of him making some odd face and equally strange noises while filming in slo-mo or fast mode which exaggerates his craziness.  Maggie, on the other hand, had decided she wants to be a "YouTuber"and makes instructional videos on how to do things like play with a dollhouse, or draw a picture.  They are usually very very very informative (translation: LONG--the last one was 23 minutes long).  But every once and a while while deleting all the new additions to my album, I come across a gem or two.  Here's a cute one of Joey the kids must have snapped.  We must have been leaving grandma Calder's house (the soda can).

We took a day trip on President's Day to the San Raphael Swell.  On the drive down Ziggy showed how True Blue she was by smiling when we put on Ty's BYU hat.  I mean, really...she is smiling.  Either that or thinking "I'm just waiting to make my escape.  Just smile and pretend everything's normal...."
 It was a bit of a sketchy drive through snow and then mud but we made it.  It is a really neat area with tons of huge boulders and red rock type landscape.  Jake was in rock hound heaven collecting tons of specimens for his ever growing collection.
 We let the kids climb around on the hills and boulders...which also means that even though we had intended to go for a nice long hike we didn't make it very far.  Boulders are much more enticing to a bunch of kids than a brisk walk.
 

 

There were some really neat looking rock formations.  While the kids were playing on the boulders we found a "rock bench" that we parked it on while we watched the kids play.
 Ziggy was thirsty and so we even found a rock with built in bowl for her to drink water from!  Boy did she have a blast.  It is so fun to have a dog that we can take on things like this.  It sounds silly, but I get so much joy from watching her run and jump and do all the dog things she does when she is outdoors.  You just know she is having the time of her life.  I just hope she appreciates it!  Not many dogs have as good a life as she does...

 The first path we ventured out on was pretty muddy--you can see behind Maggie how muddy it was. We stayed away from the worst parts like that, but it didn't keep our shoes from being dragged down by a pound of mud stuck to them.  So before too long we changed tactics and went a different way and that was much better.
 Of course stopping every 10 seconds to climb and play.  Maggie decided to take a nap.

 In the area there are several places with Indian petroglyphs and pictographs.  We stopped at one of the bigger sites that is marked and took a look around.  It was pretty incredible.  Plus I got a nice hug from my teenager which was pretty incredible too....just kidding.  I'm lucky that Tyler is such a loving boy.  There is no shortage of hugs coming from him.  I might be doing something right...fingers crossed!
 The boys and Eric have done a lot of skiing this winter.  As mentioned before, I am learning along with Maggie and Joey, but we can't handle the big stuff like the boys do.  So they go without us several times.  I'm so glad they have this activity they love.  Tyler set a goal to ski every single run in Sundance this winter, including the double black diamonds he never skied before.  Well as of yesterday afternoon he met his goal!  He went skiing with his friends determined to finish the last of the missing runs and he did it!  Now how to get him to set a goal about getting better grades.....
 This picture is from a while ago but I just found it.  Eric and I took Joey on a horse ride in Payson Canyon.  It was close by and we had a fun time.  I have decided to embrace my new cowgirl lifestyle and have set a goal to get more proficient at riding and everything that goes along with it this summer (saddling, loading, bridling, etc.)  I'd even like to start working with our foal Cinco.  I've got some books about it--I guess we will see how it goes (i.e. if I end up kicked in the face or not).
 We have season tix to BYU basketball again this year (I think I have previously mentioned this) and Eric takes turn taking the kids (on the games I don't want to go, or course).  Joey got his turn...but I'm pretty sure he only cared about getting a Cougartail.
 And on to more important matters--ice cream.  We found the best ice cream on the planet at a new popular shop in Provo called Rockwell Ice Cream Parlor.  Holy moly, it is soooo good.  We stopped by there one afternoon since we'd heard raves about it and it certainly delivered.  I can be an ice cream snob, but this hit the mark in every way.  Delicious interesting flavors, huge portions and good music playing.  Check, check and check.  We will definitely be back.
And to close off I'll tell you a story about my currently favorite son Jacob (you'll see why in the story).  I was deciding between 2 pairs of jeans and I modeled them for Eric and Jacob just happened to be sitting next to him.  I modeled both pairs and asked which one looked better, which in girl terms translates into "Which pair makes me look thin?"  I made sure to tell them that's what I meant, just so there was no confusion.  Eric was deciding and Jacob chimed in with, "You look thin in both pairs."  BOOM--he just moved to the top of the list.  Nice job Jake, I've taught you well.  Now I better get to work on Joey who asked me if I had a baby in my belly.....