Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Youngest Baby is 5!!!

I believe the phrase I use the most often is, "I just don't know where the time goes." I use this phrase way too much, but that is truly how I feel. I look at photos of my childhood and wonder where that time went. Those endless days just evaporated before my eyes. Now I feel the same way with my children. Our oldest child will be 14 this year. Our middle son will be 9. And our BABY just turned 5 today. Where does the time go??

I don't have any baby photos on this computer...they are sitting on the hard drive of that computer over there....on the floor...the computer that crashed last year and we haven't quite pulled everything off of it yet. So, here are some photos of A when she was about 12 months old to current. Enjoy!

Here's looking at you babe!
(These are the glasses my middle child made in kindergarten to celebrate 100 days of school. Not sure why he chose to strategically place that letter "k" in his line of vision...A looked cute in them though!

Oh yah? Can you do this?
I'd never seen a child do this before...and neither had our pediatrician. A would stick the nipple end of one passy through the ring of another and put the nipple in her mouth. She just liked them this way. She also created "passy chains" by hooking 3 and 4 together like this. Interesting...

Notice the little horses on her dress? She no longer wears dresses unless bribed with ice cream. Yes, she is my daughter...I don't like to wear dresses, either.

Fish lips!

Ah yes, and her favorite super hero is Batman. She even asked for a Batman cake this year....I'm not sure if Daddy is going to allow that though. He feels a Batman cake for a little girl is just too much. Let's see if he can convince her otherwise. :)

"A the Builder."
She is always ready to help out around the house. It seems as though she prefers power tools, too. This is the "I'm bored and ready to get to work" look.

One of my favorite views of A. I LOVE to see her on the pony! :)

Oops....just a little tired here. Must have had a full day at the barn!

A! Quit picking on that manikin! He can't defend himself!
(She thought this was hysterical - a manikin her size!)

Who can resist those freckles and curls? Her Daddy sure can't, for one! :)
(I find it hard to, myself.)

Cousins - there's no better friend than your own kin! :)

She even loves her middle brother sometimes - like when he agrees to carry her all over the sidelines of the soccer field on his back!

Spending some time with her namesake and Great-Grandmother....absolutely priceless.

Nothing like dancing on the beach!

Or holding a baby shark!
(The shark was not harmed in the making of this photo.
It was quickly released back into the ocean.)

Occasionally A will agree to be a little princess...this was for a friend's birthday party.

This is the serious soccer stance.

This is using funky arms and stealing the ball from all of her team mates to score a goal.

This is the sign that she thinks its okay to steal the ball from her team mates right after Dad fusses at her not to steal the ball from her team mates.

This is my sweet girl helping to fill holes in our hopefully-soon-to-be-horse-pasture.

No, she really didn't go to Marti Gras and get all those beads...her Grandma had them. :)

Notice the war paint on her face? A had the lovely idea of getting mud from the lake and painting it on her face....the hand prints were really cute, but a bit on the smelly side.

One happy girl after receiving her soccer trophy and a cupcake to celebrate the end of the soccer season!

Fun in the snow.
This is the second time in her life she has seen snow. We don't get much snow in the south.

All dressed up for the Father/Daughter Dance on Valentines' Day.
Yes, it took LOTS of ice cream to get her in this dress.
She was adorable. And a bit silly.

Looking cute for the camera at her oldest brother's soccer game on March 11
(where he scored his first goal EVER!)

Going down the courthouse stairs in Westville, Georgia this past weekend.

A and her walking stick in Providence Canyon from this past weekend as well.
I would have uploaded the photos from her small family birthday party tonight, but as I was cooking dinner, I placed a hot pan on the side of the sink. For some reason, A went over to it and put her lips on it! It burned her bottom lip very badly. I immediately administered ice, but it swelled and blistered very quickly. There were lots of tears tonight, through dinner, through blowing out her big "five" candle, and through opening her gift. I felt awful and didn't have the heart to look at those photos. A was very excited to get her "snuggie" though. That was one of several things she had on her list. We have her big birthday party on Sunday. Hopefully we won't have any mishaps and I can post some happy photos.
Once again, I just don't know where the time goes. It seems like only yesterday A was just a tiny little wiggly, adorable baby we were getting to know. Now she is already 5 and excited about starting kindergarten in August. She is an amazing blessing and I will do my best to cherish every moment with her, and our precious boys.
Happy Birthday, A.
I love you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fun with Tonto

Saturday we had extraordinarily beautiful weather and extra time to play, so I pulled little Tonto out of the pasture. He wasn't sure what to think of that, it had been so long! He certainly enjoyed the long grooming session - hair was flying everywhere and there must have been at least a hundred hair packed wads from the curry comb surrounding him. It is definitely shedding season and this little guy has A LOT of hair to shed. I should have hosed his feet off - the mud sticks so badly. I look foward to warmer weather when I can wash his tail again, too.

Since we had a few hours to enjoy, I tacked Tonto up and the kids and I walked down the gravel road to the little creek that flows under the road to the front of the neighbor's property. I just led Tonto and let him get a good look at everything. He stood fairly patiently while the kids threw rocks into the water for about 30 minutes or so.

Once we were back home, I longed him for a while. He was very well mannered, remembering his walk, trot, and halt commands. He still doesn't know how to canter on the longe, something I hope I can teach him when we have more time to spend together...anyway, once he'd been worked and I felt he had all the bugs out, my daughter wanted to get on.

Tonto was very good and I was so proud of A! I led her around for at least 20 minutes or so, working on sitting up, soft hands and elbows, stopping, turning. This is the longest she has ever ridden and she truly showed an interest. She turns 5 tomorrow, so maybe she is finally maturing enough to focus longer than just a few minutes. I wanted to keep it fun and not bore her, so we stopped when she wanted to. Her little legs are so short, they don't reach below the saddle flaps!

It's time to get her some paddock boots and jodhpurs, it looks like! :)

I think it will be a few years before she outgrows Tonto...and that is a really good thing!

Tonto will be 14 this year, so as he ages, he continues to get better. He was quite green when we bought him over 7 years ago and rather skittish. He's had ample time to settle over the past several years.

I think they make a cute pair!

Tonto was enjoying a good neck scratch while Ashlee put her head on his neck. Mom snapped the photo as Ashlee was sitting up -
A is very proud of herself!

Then it was B's turn to ride. Yes, the shorts and dairy boots make a funny combo, but hey, he wanted to ride and I wasn't turning him down!

It's time for him to start riding Tonto regularly, too!

B had so much more confidence this time and wanted me to turn him loose. I still don't quite trust Tonto in the pasture and we don't have an arena, so I ended up putting him on the longe line so we could work on walk/halt transitions.

B is focusing on learning to turn:
(I wish I had been able to upload the videos. I believe the files were too large.)

It will be so nice to have the ponies in the back yard so we can play with them more than once every few months. I was thrilled that both A and B wanted to ride this time...and I was proud of them for listening to instructions. They tried so hard to catch on to what I was trying to explain. Maybe there is hope? :)
Happy Spring and Happy Riding!

March 22, 1986 (When Maggie came to live with us)

Today, 24 years ago, my parents bought my friend's horse, Midnight Magnolia aka "Maggie" for me. She was a registered QH mare, solid bay, 7 years old. Little did I know how much I would come to love this little mare.

Here are some photos of Maggie through the years.

(Later I learned how important a hard hat was)
The girl on the gray (in the saddle) is who I bought Maggie from (we just re-connected recently after many years!). The girl riding double in back is now a Nationally Ranked Arabian Sporthorse competitor (and still one of my VERY best friends of all time).

One of the few open shows I attended on Maggie. We did everything from English classes to ride-a-buck, to the arena race. She was game for anything!

Ha - I didn't have nice leather boots until the later years. These old rubber boots were great though! (and I still have that saddle and bridle...)

One of our many early morning rides:

I sold Maggie in 1989 to move to a bigger horse who I thought would take me through the ranks of Pony Club. He was wonderful, but proved to be a bit too much horse for me. I'll have to blog about him one day...
Thankfully, after I sold Maggie, she stayed in the area where I lived, so I was able to keep track of her. She changed hands several times and ended up at an eventing barn behind our house where I worked. She was a wonderful lesson pony and taught so many people how to ride. Once Maggie got older and it was time to retire her from teaching, the barn owner kindly gave her back to me so I could retire her.

These photos were taken after Maggie came back home:
(I love, love, love her dapples every spring)

Here she is grazing with her best buddy, Buck. Buck and Maggie were the first 2 horses I ever owned. Buck was very sad when Maggie left in 1989. I still had Buck when Maggie came home in 1998. I led her into the pasture and just unclipped her leadrope. She and Buck ran up to each other, sniffed noses and Maggie sighed a huge sigh. They immediately dropped their noses and began grazing together. It was like Maggie had never left.

Here they are waiting on dinner:

Maggie being a trooper and graciously giving rides to my oldest:
(I know - no hard hat or shoes...He got a hard hat and paddock boots soon after he decided he wanted to start riding!)


I believe this is about the last time anyone rode Maggie. Her eyesight and hearing are fading, so she is just a pasture pet now. This is her little buddy Tonto. Buck passed in 2001 and we went 2 years before buying Tonto. Maggie needed a buddy because she was getting lonely.

The photos below were taken on Maggie's 29th birthday:


Maggie's 30th birthday:


After her bath:

Winter 2009:

Maggie is one of those "special ones" that folks talk about. She has always been such a kind and gentle soul, never balking at anything I asked of her. She was never fancy, or had the best conformation, but the lessons she taught me growing up were priceless. She taught me patience, trust, kindness and gentleness.
Maggie is really beginning to show her age now. Amazingly, she will be 32 years old on May 8. She spends a lot of time sleeping, frequently laying flat out on her side. My poor Mom fears she is going to find Maggie dead any time now. But you know, that's the way I had rather her go. I'd rather not have to make the tough decision of putting her down, I had rather her pass peacefully in her sleep. Our wonderful vets check on her regularly and they always say the same thing, "You will know when it is time." I know I will, but again, I just really hope I don't have to make that decision.
Maggie was certainly one of the best decisions our family ever made.