Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I'll do these backwards, so the post ends happy rather than sad!

First: the good...it's Christmas! Tyler is so excited, he can hardly stand himself. Tonight we'll be making Reindeer Munch and baking Christmas cut-out cookies. These are the same cookies I've made nearly every year of my life...Mom's recipe is the best! We'll decorate them tomorrow night, and Tyler will select the two best ones to leave for Santa. This year, he wrote his very own letter to Santa, rather than "dictating" to me as he has done in the past. It's in his stocking, so when Santa comes he can read it and leave what he can. Tyler understands that Santa's sleigh doesn't have room for everything! :) Needless to say, I'll be scrapping that letter into his book.

Next: the bad...our trip to Disney World for Christmas has been cancelled (see "the ugly"). Tyler knows nothing about it, so there's no disappoinment on his part,thankfully. We're hoping to go for either Spring Break or during the summer. We'll see how it goes.

Last: the ugly...our neighbors, Deborah and George, were the ones taking us with them to Disney. George is part of the Wounded Warrior program, and they gave him a one-week trip to Disney to be used whenever he wants it. The program pays for the three-bedroom condo for a week, and gives them free one-day passes to Disney. They asked us to join them, since they had such a large place to stay. We heartily agreed, and have been looking forward to it for about a month or so. Now, insert the ugly part. George's father was sent to the hospital for the fourth time on Monday morning...he's been trying to conquer pneumonia since before Thanksgiving. The last I heard, he had been transferred into the Critical Care Unit, was going to be put on a ventilator, had spiked a fever of 104, and the entire family has been called in. I have had no update today, so I'm not sure what's going on at this minute. I thought a specialist was coming today from Birmingham to do a lung biopsy.

So, the ugly is definitely very ugly, created the bad, and we're now concentrating on the good.

Oh, and I have to shop at Wal-Mart tonight after Tyler goes to bed. Turns out we were going to give him the trip for Christmas, and Santa was providing the wrapables. Now, no trip AND no gift from Mom and Dad. I figure I'd better get something, lest he think we're losers!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can I get a little more stress, please????

Ugh. So, I'm selling my horse trailer, and trying to look for the deal of the century on a newer one. That's frustrating. I have to get up into the attic and drag out the umpteen boxes of Christmas decorations...then I have to put them up. I love having them up, but love it more in January when all that clutter goes back into the attic. I have a horse show this Saturday. I haven't been to a show in about 2 months. Thankfully, Ranger is at the point where I can just get on him and go, without worrying about his form or him paying attention to me. My job with the neighbors has changed, and long story short...I'm getting less than minimum wage to work my tail off. I'm not happy about that, especially since I don't HAVE to work. So, the barn owner and I are going to talk early next week about me doing more for her out at the barn. Everything I earn is credited toward my board fees, so that's nice. However, waiting until early next week to talk to her, since she's out of town, is going to make me insane. I'm not the most patient person on Earth.

So, as if that's not enough stress...let's add some more!

Monday night, my faithful old washing machine died. I have had this washer and dryer set for 18 years. Yes, you read that right. 18 years. There has NEVER been anything wrong with either of them. The washer started acting up when my parents were here earlier this year, and Dad got it back on track for me. But Monday night, it died. Sigh. I never thought I'd be sad about it, but I am. Thankfully though, I have an awesome husband.

He took my stress away. Well, at least part of it. Tonight, we went to Home Depot and ordered my new Maytag washer and dryer. They'll be here Tuesday. YIPEE!! The delivery company will take my old washer and send it to the Great Laundry Room in the Sky, and my old dryer will go out to the barn (the one out there now is awful). I'm so excited!

Some more exciting news...we're going to Disney World! Our neighbors got a condo for a week for free down there, so we're all piling into their Suburban on December 27th and going to see Mickey and Co. Tyler has NO idea. I'm going to get a Mickey Mouse helium balloon and wrap it in a box. When he opens the box, Mickey floats up with a note on the string that says "Tyler come see me!". Then we'll fill Ty in on the details. I cannot imagine the magnitude of his Happy Hopping when he finds out! I'll have to make sure to videotape it for posterity!

Otherwise, there's not a whole lot going on here. The weather is okay during the day and freakin' cold at night...this morning we woke up to frost.

Tyler got a haircut today...finally. This morning he woke up with Squirrel-Boy hair, so I took him after school. He looks so cute! This week, we'll all dress up nice, set up the camera and take a family photo to use for our Christmas cards. I bought Piper a little elf costume...it's a ruff for around his neck and a hat that velcro's on his head. I'm not sure if he'll wear it in the photo or not; he might be too humiliated to look at the camera! :)

Well, I'm off to search the internet again. Looking for a good deal on a trailer is actually harder to do than I thought it would be....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We're still alive...

Tyler's birthday party was great! I sent 14 invitations to his classmates, and only two of them showed. What is it with these people?? It worked out well, though. The party room we had was probably too small for all the kids to fit into. Our neighbors and their daughter were there, another couple that we know through them, and their daughter and her family. Their son is one of Tyler's good buddies. All in all, it was a fun time, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Tyler got some nice gifts, and was a very happy boy. We did take pictures, but they're still on the camera (which is new) and I don't know how to download them yet. When Marc gets to it, I'll post the photos for you.

The weather here got cold...I know...wah, wah, wah. It's cold for us! It's sad when I think 57 degrees is warm! It got into the lower 20's a couple of nights; folks are saying it hasn't been this cold this early in the year in decades.

I'm working both jobs right now. I'm at the barn 2-3 days a week, and at work 2-3 days. I kind of adjust my schedule based on what I want to accomplish, and where. I love that it's so flexible!

I'm selling my horse trailer. Sigh. I love this trailer. I bought it when we lived in DE, from my best friend Stephanie. This trailer has moved our stuff a couple of times, and hauled Ranger a lot, to shows and trail rides. Suddenly, the Old Fart decided he wasn't getting in it anymore. I think it's a combination of things...he's physically bulked up, and therefore wider in the butt and shoulder, so he may feel cramped, and he's been in other trailers that are bigger and lighter-colored inside, so he may have just discovered a preference. Either that, or he's being a 24 year old, spoiled and stubborn horse who gets pretty much whatever he wants.

So, my little trailer is officially for sale, and I'm shopping for a bigger one. The great thing is that I have all the time in the world to wait for "the" trailer for me; our barn owner has a trailer that I'm allowed to use whenever I need to. That's great, because it takes the pressure off.

School continues to be great for Tyler; on his last progress report, he aced everything (again). The other day, he sounded out the word "brilliant". I thought that was quite ironic...

Marc's official package (resume) for his application for promotion to Major goes up in December. It'll take a few months to find out if he made it or not, and then it'll take forever until he pins on the new rank and starts getting the paycheck. I know he'll get promoted; he always freaks out with these things because there are limited slots available, and he's competing with all the other Captains in the AF that are eligible at the same time. I read the letter that his commander wrote for his recommendation, and he basically said they'd be stupid NOT to promote Marc. So, I think it's pretty much in the bag. I'll keep you posted...

For those of you that are American Idol fans, here's some advice: go buy the new David Cook CD! It came out last Tuesday, and I bought it at WalMart for $14. I am NOT kidding you when I tell you that I LOVE every song on it! He did a wonderful job on the album, and I would've paid a bunch more money to get it. Needless to say, he needs to go on tour so I can see him perform live! I also love the new David Archuletta song, but have not purchased the CD yet.

Marc is hunting this weekend. He was really excited...he hasn't been deer hunting since we lived in SD!! He's with our neighbor, George, and another friend of George's, down at the farm. They left Friday after work, and return Sunday afternoon. I know George got two deer right off the bat, but last I heard, Marc and Elvis were still sitting in the tree stands waiting. Our cell phone gets no service down there, so I have to wait until Marc gets home to find out how he did. I don't mind the hunting...I just don't want to eat it. It's like fishing...I can bait my own hook and cast my own line...I can even clean it myself if I have to...I enjoy fishing...but I'm not eating that nasty thing!

I'm off to bed. Tyler and I went to see a movie tonight...Madagascar 2...totally hilarious! We loved it; but now I'm exhausted and ready for sleep!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A picture of Ranger

This was taken a week and a half ago, on our ride through Tuskegee National Park.
I'm going to steal one of those "wide load" signs off a semi truck and paste it to his ass...

I figured it out!!

Not that it was that hard, but I didn't know where to start! So, here's the picture of Marc and Tyler....AKA Buzz Lightyear and Woody!!

I'm such a slacker!

Okay, so I routinely check the blogs of my friends, and am always so sad when they haven't posted anything lately. Yeah. Then I realized I hadn't posted anything either. Slacker!

Things have been good here. Marc and Tyler had a wonderful time at Halloween...Tyler was Buzz Lightyear and Marc was Woody. They were so cute! I wasn't home...I was at the barn for the party and costume contest. Ranger was a bumblebee. People really enjoyed his cute costume, and Ranger didn't really care that he had pipecleaner and pom-pom antennae attached to the top of his halter. I was walking him around the arena for the "parade", and I asked him if he thought he should learn how to "buzz"; I'm not kidding you when he shook his head NO!!! Too funny...I swear he's part human.

Marc's feet were doing well with the new orthotics, but are bothering him again. This poor guy just can't get a break! So, he'll probably have to schedule another appointment with the podiatrist. The good thing is that the doctor is AWESOME, so we know he'll continue to do whatever he can to make Marc more comfortable. I told Marc he just needs to ask for a bilateral foot transplant and get it over with!

Tyler and I got our flu shots today...talk about one sad little boy. It went very quickly, and he freaked out because he saw the needle right before it made contact with his shoulder, but overall did better than I expected. I thought he'd try to crawl into my shirt with me to get away from the Mean Nurse.

Tyler continues to read like a champ! He's sounding out words that I never thought he'd be able to, and he's amazing both us and his teacher.

On a crappy note (or good, depending on how you look at it), Tyler does NOT qualify for PT and OT services through the school system. Apparently he's too good. At first I was really, really pissed, because they're supposed to provide services for those who need it. Then, after some explanation, I realized that he doesn't qualify because his limitations do not affect him academically. He can perform virtually all of the tasks he encounters in the classroom, he can participate in P.E. and out on the playground. Outside, on the play equipment, he shows that he understands his limitations, and recognizes the need for personal safety...he won't go on anything, or up anything, that he's not comfortable with or doesn't have help with. So, his self preservation skills are quite sharp, and therefore he's not in any danger of hurting himself.

So, back we go to the hospital on the other side of town (20 minutes one way) once a week for therapy. We do what we have to do of course, but damn! It would have been really nice for him to get services at the school. It would've saved us time and gas. Ho hum.

I am extremely pleased that he's doing so well. One thing the school OT said was that his left arm/hand are about as good as they're ever going to get. That ticked off both Marc and me. Neither one of us will accept her opinion; we've seen Tyler come way too far in almost 6 years, and we know he can continue to improve. What bothers me about her comment is this: what if she says that to parents who aren't as involved with their child's issues as we are? Do they just take her opinion as "gospel" and give up on their child? I understand that she may not want to tell parents to expect miracles with the therapy, but good Lord! You can't say that's as good as a kid is going to get...how do you know that??!!!!! Can you tell that it really bothered me??!!!


The weather here has been wonderful...low to mid seventies during the day and in the fifties at night. We haven't had much rain, but are expecting some this Friday.

Speaking of Friday....it's our 10th anniversary!! Can you believe this man has put up with me for ten years already! It seems like yesterday when we got married...jeez, time flies. We'll go out for dinner Friday night (we'll take Tyler with us), and then on Saturday Tyler is going to our neighbor's house for the day...and we're going on a big honkin' trail ride! Yes, Marc is finally going to go with me on a psycho-crazy ride. He's borrowing one of the horses from the barn and I'll be riding Ranger. The last time I went to this place is when Ranger ran my right ankle into a tree and then slid downhill into the trees...and wound up wearing me around his neck like a scarf. My ankle is still screwed up from that! I'm really excited that Marc is going with us...now he'll see that I'm not embellishing the details about these rides. I think he'll have a lot of fun, and it'll be awesome for him to see what Ranger and I can do together.

I have officially completed ALL of my Christmas shopping. Scary, huh? I had to order some stuff for Tyler's birthday, so I decided to save myself some shipping costs later and just get everything now. I cannot explain to you how relieved I am that it's done already. I'm sure the UPS and FedEx guys are going to think I'm nuts...

So, Tyler's birthday is on a Thursday this year, so we're having his first official true-blue birthday party on Saturday! I'm so excited! It's a Scooby-Doo party; that's what he picked. We're holding it at the local mom-n-pop pizza place, and let me tell you, what a deal that is! For six one-topping pizzas and three pitchers of soda, it's $36!! Additional pizzas are $8 and pitchers of soda are $3. We can decorate the area any way we want, and there's a game room for the kids to play in after they eat. There's also an all-you-can-eat buffet for anyone who wants that instead of pizza...and the place will only charge $8 per person. I'm pretty sure I've spent more on the decorations/supplies than I will on the facility/food.

Side note: Mom and Dad, it's the pizza place you went to with us here in Millbrook.

I'm working at the barn more these days than I am with my neighbors. It's a "dry" time of year for the type of work we do, so the work for me is scarce right now. So, I spend those extra days at the barn, working off my board. In the spring, though, I'll be stupid-busy, and will probably be lucky to get to the barn twice a week!

I'm going to post this now, and then dork around a while to see if I can figure out how to post pictures...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Report cards and road trips

Tyler got his first ever report card last week! I never thought I'd be so excited to see it, but I totally couldn't wait to pick him up from school and whip that sucker out of his backpack! Needless to say, the world's smartest boy ACED everything! The report shows what they've learned thus far, and what they'll learn the rest of the year. Tyler knows all of it already. It's stuff like count to 20 with 100% accuracy. Yeah, he can count to about 50, probably higher but that's about when he loses interest in counting for Mommy. It's recognizing and writing the color words, being able to sound out words, stuff like that. Tonight while reading to Marc, he read the words elephant, dinosaurs, airplanes, whales, skyscrapers, and universe. I'm telling you, the kid blows us away every day...I can't wait to see what profession he goes into.

I found out that "Disney On Ice" was coming to Huntsville, so I bought tickets and we spent the weekend up there. It's a 3 hour drive, and a relatively easy one. We took Jill, our GPS, which was gifted to us by Marc's parents. Thanks a ton for this amazing technology Mommy and Daddy; it's worth it's weight in gold! We use it all the time. It's name is Jill because when you look at the programming screen, each language is assigned a name, and American is Jill. That, and we don't personally know anyone named Jill, so when one of us says "go get Jill out of the drawer"...we know what we're talking about. Even Tyler calls it Jill!

The trip up to Huntsville was nice...until the belt blew out on the passenger side front tire, and we had to pull into a gas station to put the spare on. The car is Grandma's...and it's a 1996 model...and these are probably the original tires. We weren't really surprised it blew, but thankfully it happened on the trip when we were all together, rather than when I was trying to high-tail it to Tyler's school to pick him up! :) We used Jill to find us a tire shop...she found us 3, but they were all closed. On a Saturday. At one in the afternoon. It was quite odd. So, I spied the roof of a fairly new building way off in the distance, and told Marc it looked like a new Wal-Mart. Apparently my Wally-World-Radar was working that day, because we drove that direction, and lo and behold, there was a brand-spankin' new Wal-Mart. We got the one tire replaced, and went on our merry way about an hour later.

Our first stop in Huntsville was a cool kids science museum called Sci-Quest. It's a totally hands-on place where kids go to different stations to learn about some aspect of science, using the experiment at the station. One was pumping air into a tube filled with water, to try to get the little plastic diver inside to sink to the bottom; one was creating electricity by pedaling really fast, which would light up a series of lights in front of you (Marc not only got all 6 lights on, but they were as blinding as the sun...I guess all those spinning classes paid off!); one was static electricity...and the list goes on. We were there for 2 hours, and I'll bet there were at least 50 things to play with. They have a birthday party room and snack bar, too. It was relatively cheap; I think it was $26 for the three of us, and you can be there as long as you want. Tyler had a blast.

We then checked into our hotel, got a bite to eat at a buffet place (which pretty much sucked), and then headed to the arena for the Disney show. At this point, Tyler still has no idea what he's going to see/do. We walked in to the building, and of course there are booths set up everywhere selling crap for tons of money, and he saw the sign ahead...Disney on Ice. He almost flipped out! I was just so excited he read the sign by himself! We bought him a little stuffed Stitch (from Lilo and Stitch) and a plastic sword with Peter Pan on it. The total was $27; how disgusting is that?!!

The show was AWESOME...if you ever have the opportunity, go see it!!! The story line flowed nicely, it kept the kids attention, and they did an intermission about 2/3 of the way through so the kids could get up and walk around or go potty. The costumes were amazing...Sebastian the Lobster from The Little Mermaid actually looked like Sebastian! I was very impressed with the whole thing, and was truly sad when it was over. I'll definitely go again someday. And let me tell you...those people skating were amazing...not one slip or fall, and they were doing some really professional-type stuff. It was a very nice evening.

We slept in the hotel, which was very comfortable and quiet, and only $40! Gotta love off-season. Then on Sunday we drove around and found a few stores we wanted to check out, and then headed back home. Tyler's last "surprise" was a stop at PetsMart, to buy a fish he's been asking for. He had one in TX, and it went to the big aquarium in the sky before we moved to AL, and he's been wanting another one for a couple of months. So, we have another Betta, which is red and blue, and Tyler named him Quincy (one of the characters from his favorite show, The Little Einsteins). We finally pulled in the driveway at 5, which was nice, because we got unloaded, laundry washed and put away, dinner, play time, and relaxing before bedtime. It was a really nice weekend, and Tyler had SO much fun. And Quincy has himself a nice big tank, compared to the little cup he came home in, and he appears to be enjoying it!

I have a big trail ride coming up this Saturday, and Marc and Tyler will be heading over to the new Best Buy to drool over the TV's.

At some point, I'll figure out how to post a picture, and I'll be able to show you some of this stuff instead of trying to explain it.

ALSO, a quick "thank you!" to everyone who ordered something for Tyler's school fundraiser; he got enough purchases in his name to qualify for the much-coveted Glow in the Dark Scooby t-shirt! This fundraiser was something parents didn't participate in (as far as purchasing something is concerned), so I have no idea what you guys had to choose from, etc. We keep getting hit with these fundraiser things...we've had 3 so far...it's crazy. I'd rather just give the school a check for fifty bucks a month than try to sap everyone I know for a donation of some sort! So again...thanks so much for helping out The Boy. I'll post a photo of him in the damn shirt.

Time to head off to bed and read for a while. I'm reading books by Dick Francis; he writes mysteries that center around the world of horse racing...so far this first one I have is quite good!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Well, I'll never do THAT again!

Okay, so we spent Saturday at the Alabama National Fair. It was a really good fair...the Midway was enormous, and there was an area set up just for kids rides. We got Tyler a wristband, so he could ride whatever he wanted, and we got some tickets for me and Marc. I'm not a big ride person.

So, we walked around for a while, saw animals and crafts, played some games, and went to the circus. That was great...until the elephants came out. I'm telling you, the performances were wonderful, but when the elephants came out (they were the last act), people actually started to get up and leave. There were four of them, and they behaved nicely, but I think people are just fed up with elephants at circuses. There's no reason to have four of them jammed into a tiny little arena, you know?

We went by this ride called "Extacy". It was purple. It spun around. It went upside down. Marc thought it would be a cool ride, and tried to tease me by saying "come on...let's go on that one". Well, surprise to him...I said okay. The man nearly passed out! So were sitting in this thing that looks like a purple octopus. Each arm has 4 cars on it, and each car holds two people. The whole thing spins around clockwise, the pod of cars at the end of each arm spin around counterclockwise, and then the arms go up and down. At one point, the cars are above the arms...upside down...and still spinning.

Oh. My. God. It was quite a long ride. I did lots of screaming and laughing. The ride did it's whole sequence, and then paused for a bit...upside down...but spinning slower. I was thinking maybe the ride was going to be done. No. Of course not. The ride went through the entire sequence again. I'm telling you, this ride had to be at least a full 3 minutes long. That's a long time when you're on the spinning octopus of death. Okay, so now we're going through it for the second time, and I got reeeeaaaalllllyyyy quiet. Marc said "are you okay?" and I said "NO!". I was probably three shades of green. The only thing that kept me from barfing was the total embarassment I'd suffer in front of our friends and the kids. I was SOOOO dizzy; I had to sit down for a good half an hour. Marc said I actually got a little shocky. I had no blood in my arms or legs, and my head was hurting.

I will never go on a ride that spins ever again. I tried to be brave, for Marc. I know he just loves rides like this, but I'm either too scared I'll die or puke that I just can't do them. Now I hope he understands just how badly these things affect me, and will understand when I tell him "NO WAY!!".

So, you'd think I'd be better the next day, right? After a good night's sleep. Of course not!! I had some freaky 24-hour stomach flu thing, and wound up barfing anyway. Damn! Today I feel pretty puny, and have not had a real great day, but I feel a million times better than yesterday.

On a better note, we've been working on Tyler's big boy room. We have all of the painting done, and tonight we're going to put up the bandana border. Tomorrow night we'll clean the carpet, and Wednesday night we'll put everything back in, including the new twin bed. I'm so excited!

Well, off to play with the wallpaper!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Go Mustangs!

Okay, so we're suckers. We bought season tickets for the local high school football team. Two seats ran us nearly $200, but we get super-close free parking, awesome seats, and free food and drinks.

We weren't sure how Tyler was going to like watching football for 3 hours. Let me tell you, this boy LOVES it! He stands there screaming "touchdown!" and "Go, Mustangs!". When the bands come out at half-time, he dances, and sometimes pretends he's the conductor. When the 3rd quarter starts, he and Marc take a walk to the snack shack and buy me M&M's. It's great! We were at a game tonight, and I must say, these kids can play some ball. We stomped the other team, 49 to 28. This is the second of three home games we've won. The BIG game is next Friday; we play Prattville, which is the town two miles away, across the Interstate. Major rivalry; and right now Prattville is undefeated.

For those of you who don't know, I am NOT a football fan. I have no idea why I love going to these games so much. Maybe it's a "flashback" to my high school days; who knows??

Otherwise, things are fabulous. Tyler is doing excellent in school, and is reading like a champ. He's to the point now that if you spell a word, he'll tell you what it was. For instance, I looked at him and said "what is m-i-l-k?" and he said "milk". There was virtually no hesitation on his part. It's truly amazing to watch him grow up.

He was approved to receive therapy services through the school system. The next step is for the school's PT and OT to evaluate him, and make their recommendations for his care. We'll meet with them in about a month, and develop his plan of care. We're not as concerned about the PT as we are about the OT. The physical skills (gross motor) will pretty much take care of themselves as he gets older and needs to keep up with the other kids. He does need to be followed for his leg brace, though. The one he has now is so cool! It's really lightweight, and has helped him develop a proper heel-toe gait. You should see him run! He's faster, straighter (doesn't toe-in, which means he's not "throwing" his hip forward, he's actually using the right muscles in the right order), and he doesn't really look down anymore. There was such a long period of time where he ran looking down; we were sure he was going to run into a tree or something. But, between his last eye surgery and his legs being stronger, he's learned to use his lower peripheral vision to gauge where he's going.

Marc is same-oh, same-oh. Working hard putting together his big presentation thingy at the end of the month. He's also running the Booster Club stuff. He did not want that job. He was what we call "volun-told". He has to do it for a year (I think), so his time doing it should be over soon. Can you believe we've been here for almost a year already??? October 29th!

I went on another trail ride last weekend...this one was incredible. It was at Tuskegee National Forest (which, by the way, is the smallest National Forest in the country). This place was gorgeous! The trail was fairly flat, it went through some dense brush, some woods, and some open spaces. In total, it was 16 miles. We went the first 12 and then stopped at a lake to eat our lunches and rest the horses. Ranger was a good boy and drank from the lake before we left. The old adage about "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" is so true! However, Ranger has learned that if you're offered water, by God, you take it!! The last 4 miles of the ride was the best part...there were two LONG stretches of trail...and we galloped most of it. It was awesome!

The best part of the ride for me, though, was that Ranger jumped everything we came upon! I am so proud of the old man! The highest thing he jumped was 2'6", and he cleared it like a pro. I can't tell you the feeling of jumping over a downed tree with all that power under you. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before. There was actually a moment of suspension in the air; it was what I imagine flying would be like. Needless to say, I'm now taking jumping lessons at the barn. I'm addicted. However, my horse and I are both vertically challenged, I'm kind of a wimp, and he's kind of old, so I don't think we'll be doing BIG jumps or doing a lot of jumping at all. I'm just taking the lessons to make sure I don't hinder his motion as we're jumping, and that my position is correct so when we land, I don't get off balance. That happened to me once, and it was pretty scary. Thank God Ranger likes me; he helped me rebalance myself before we continued.

This weekend we're headed to the Alabama Fair. We missed it last year; it was the week after we came to look for the house. I absolutely LOVE going to the fair, so I'm all excited. We're going with our neighbors, George, Deborah and Lydia, and their grandson Austin (who's Tyler's best friend). We got the kids wristbands so they can ride whatever they want. I plan to watch them ride and eat lots of fat nasty fair food.

Otherwise, not much else going on. Marc got all the horrid border off the walls in the kitchen and breakfast area; now we have to prime the walls, paint the walls and paint the trim. I think we're going to wait another week or so to do that, though. We need to get Tyler's big boy room done. I have to paint, put up the chair-rail border, clean the carpet and put his new twin bed in there. I think we can get most of it done this weekend. I already have all of his new bedding...we just need a headboard. I'll take photos of the room once it's done...I hope it comes out as cute in person as it does in my head!

Tyler wants to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween. Ugh. Buzz is kind of "out" this year, so I'll have to order the costume for him. We got a bumblebee costume for the dog...it's hysterical! The barn is having a costume contest; Ranger is going to be a giant bumblebee and I'll be the beekeeper. I got him a bright yellow sheet...I'll use strips of black duct-tape to make the stripes. His halter is black, and I'll put two pipecleaners on it with yellow pom-poms on the top for his antennae. I'm going to wrap his tail in black wrap so it'll look like a stinger. It should be cute...I'll take pics of Buzz and the two bees for you all to see (and get a good laugh out of).

I just have to say that lately, I've been really happy. We all know I've had my share of ups and downs, with this stupid depression/anxiety thing. Thank God for drugs! But, I think lately my brain has been functioning on a more normal level, because I've just felt so happy these last few weeks. Things are good. Tyler is an awesome kid who just loves going to school, Piper is the best dog on the planet, Ranger is the best horse alive, Marc is the hard-working super-hubby, I have two great jobs, a handful of exceptionally wonderful friends, and the best parents/in-laws anyone could ask for. Things have been going really well for me, and I just wanted everyone to know how "all good things come with time". Mine took five friggin years, but it came!!! Many thanks to everyone for being so supportive, even when you thought I had wandered into the deep end. And the biggest thanks of all goes to Marc, who truly needs to be ordained a saint when he dies. I do NOT know how the man put up with me, but bless his pea-pickin heart for doing it. I've put him through the wringer in the past, and he stuck by me. I love you, babe!

I hope everyone is doing well. I know everyone is busy these days, so that's one reason I started the blog. You can keep up with us at two in the morning in your jammies if you want to! Lord knows I type it at midnight in my jammies!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No, I don't want to be a tree!

Okay, so this past Saturday, I went on another butt-kickin' trail ride with a small group of folks from the barn. There were 4 of us, and we've ridden together before. We have a total blast on these rides; they're at a state park-type area about an hour or so from the barn. You pay $20 at the gate, park and tack up, and then take off on the morning ride. This particular ride was anywhere from 5-6 miles, maybe more. I am NOT a good judge of distance! The ride is tough; both horse and rider MUST be in shape, or you'll both have a really tough time. There is a lot of up and down, lots of hills, rocks, fallen trees, streams, bridges, roads, etc. to negotiate in this very wooded area.

We were about 2/3 of the way through the ride, and Ranger had just about had it with going down hill. He'd get to the top of the hill, look down the other side, and I could just hear him saying "you've got to be kidding". We took a lot of breaks, and I always let him choose the pace he wants to travel at. He's older...24...and in fantastic shape, but he's the one doing all the work so I try to let him make some of the decisions. That kind of backfired on me...

We were last in line to go down a hill...because he was pouting at the top of the hill...and I finally encouraged him enough to head down. Well, there are a lot of trees in a forest. We had smacked into a few throughout the day, but mostly they were little skinny saplings that just moved out of the way. Not this time. So, Mr. Forgot I Have Someone On My Back starts going down this hill, and he's too far to the right on the path. There's a tree on our right side...about 6 inches in diameter...and it's flush with his shoulder. Incidentally, his shoulder is right in front of my leg. Which means that freakin' tree is about to whack me in the leg. I distinctly remember thinking "oh, crap, that thing is NOT going to move out of the way". It didn't. SMACK. Right into my leg, from the knee, through the shin, to the outside of my ankle. Something in the ankle went POP, and I said "OUCH!". It threw my balance off...remember, we're still in forward motion headed down the hill...and the next thing I know, I'm bounced up out of the saddle, thrown forward onto Ranger's neck, and I'm screaming "Help! Help!". Everyone stopped their horses, and told Ranger to "whoa". He did. He found a relatively flat spot just to the left side of the path.

So, the best way to describe how I looked at this point in time is to direct you to the movie "Toy Story". Remember when Woody had to get outside to the yardsale to save Wheezy the Pengiun? Well, he hitched a ride on the dog...the weenie dog...by hanging on to the collar and laying his body flat against the right side of the dog's body. This would be me and Ranger. The only points of contact I had with him were my left foot, over the top of the saddle and digging in to the saddle, and my chest over the top of Ranger's neck. My right leg was out of the stirrup and hanging almost to the ground, my right hand still had a hold of the reins, but was under his neck, my left hand was dangling down the left side of his neck, and I was looking at the ground thinking "hey, there's his front left foot!". Ugh.

I VERY CLEARLY heard Anna (the barn owner) yell to me in her "instructor's voice": Shannon! Reach down and grab the reins! I did as instructed with my left hand, pulled toward his butt, and that's how he came to a stop. At that point, I took a mental "inventory" of my body parts, everything was attached, and I looked behind me. There was Ed, Anna's hubby, smiling. I started laughing and asked "How the HELL did I stay on this horse???!!!!". I lowered myself to the ground, where I promptly had to "take a knee" due to the pain in my shin and ankle. I sipped a Propel, shook it off, mounted up, and off we went.

So now, I have a lovely bruise on my right calf, a swollen bump on my right shin, a "rug-burn" on my right elbow from the bark of the tree, and the outside of my right ankle is slightly swollen. I can walk on it today, though, without limping. I'm pretty sure I broke a teeny tiny something in there...but it's nothing that's serious enough to go get an xray done. The pain is gone, and for the most part if feels fine. There are a few positions that elicit a small scream from me, but not many.

Aside from the "episode" with the tree, the ride was a blast. There's a lot of flat areas to get in a good gallop, and lots of cleared forest areas to trot and canter through. The scenery is awesome, and the trails are very well marked. At the end of the ride, we wind up at the bunkhouse, where a stew or chili is waiting for us, along with homemade German sourdough bread, drinks, and cobbler with ice cream. Now, one thing about the cobbler. There are people who go on this ride specifically to get the cobbler...no kidding. It's homemade in cast-iron kettles and cooked in an open campfire in front of the bunkhouse. This time it was apple cinnamon...yum!

After lunch, you can either load up and go back home, or do the afternooon ride...which is a trail that goes in a different direction than the one you just completed. We don't do the second ride; our horses would scrape us off on the first tree they could find and run for the hills if we tried to do that. They would NOT be pleased with us!

Back at the barn, everything gets unpacked and put away, horses get baths, fed and put up for the night. Ranger got liniment on all four legs, pain reliever, and an electrolyte replacer. Spoiled???????

While I was off cruising the trails, Marc and Tyler got to have a "Daddy Day". Tyler LOVES these days! He gets Daddy all to himself, and they go do guy stuff. This time, they went to Cooter's Pond State Park to fly their remote control plane...which turned out to have a dead battery...but was okay because there was a HUGE RC demo going on. Tyler got to see all kinds of RC planes and helicopters fly around. Then, they came home and went to the park by our house so Tyler could swing.

School photos are Wednesday; I can't wait! They'll be taken without his glasses, so we don't have to deal with the glare issue. I have no idea when they'll be back, but I've ordered the packages I need. Don't freak if you don't get one of them; we're sending out Christmas cards this year with a photo of the 3 of us, so you'll be able to see his cuteness anyway!

Well, time to get my achy-muscle bod to bed. I'm headed to the barn to ride tomorrow. Yay! See you next time...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conferences, Dr. Suess, and the paint

First, I have to report about our first ever parent/teacher conference. What a blast! We had a 15 minute time slot to visit with Mrs. Carlson about Tyler. We sat at a teeny tiny table, in teeny tiny chairs...I was cramped up, so I know Marc felt like he had his knees in his throat!! The visit went well...Tyler is doing amazing for a child his age. He's way above the average; his teacher said she was hoping he didn't get "too bored" in Kindergarten, since he knew almost all of the stuff already.

The statewide assessment testing was done in August, will be done again in January, and the last time in April (before school lets out in May). The testing is to see where the kids are academically, and track their progress throughout the school year. It lets the school know which kids are having difficulties (and in what area) and helps determine which kids will be ready for first grade. Anyway, the testing shows that the kids must have a score of "8" in two areas...letter sounds and letter recognition. Tyler scored a 15 in one, and a 36 in the other. The child blew the test out of the water!!!! In fact, the end of year testing goal is a 40, and Tyler already has a 36...wow!

Mrs. Carlson gave us a checklist of things she "grades" him on, since there are no real report cards for Kindergarteners. He aced the checklist. The only areas that she thinks he needs a little improvement is obeying conduct rules and demonstrating self control. In other words, Tyler likes to touch his buddies and constantly flap his gums. Unfortunately, these issues are actually genetic defects, passed down from me. :) So, he has to work on keeping his hands to himself and keeping his mouth closed unless it's time for playing and visiting. He's getting the hang of it.

On to Dr. Suess. Tyler has been learning to read. This child is scary. He and Marc sat on the couch every night for 3 or 4 nights, and read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. They broke it up into sections since the book is so long (63 pages). Marc read the harder words, and Tyler read the easy ones. There's a whole two pages that he read by himself..."Who am I? My name is Ish. On my hand I have a dish. I have this dish to help me wish. When I wish to make a wish, I wave my hand with a big swish swish. Then I say, "I wish for fish!" and I get fish right on my dish. So, if you wish to wish a wish, you may swish for fish with my Ish wish dish". OH. MY. GOD. The only word he got stuck on was "right", but he did try to sound it out. Marc and I are completely blown away. He's actually starting to read some bigger words, like "mouse" and some of the names of states.

I'll make sure everyone gets an invitation to his college graduation when he's 12 years old...

The paint. Ah, yes, the paint. We are taking on three house projects at the same time (accidentally). We are taking down the hideous border in the kitchen/breakfast nook, painting the trim, doors and window casings a fresh new white, and changing the paint in Tyler's room to prepare for the big boy stuff. Ugh. I do claim responsibility for the overload, though. I can't sit still, so I started painting stuff and one thing led to another. I've already repainted the trim and cabinets in Tyler's bathroom, and it looks awesome. I can't wait until the rest of the house is done...it'll be so crisp and clean looking.

We got Tyler his big boy bed...it's in the garage. We're making him sleep out there until his room is finished. Just kidding! We still need a headboard for it; our neighbors have a twin headboard that looks like a fence gate that they used for their daughter. She's now in a bigger bed, and they need to get her a bigger headboard, so they said we could have the old one for Tyler. It'll work out great, since we wanted to make him a headboard that looks like a fence gate at the barn. A little paint (yippee! more paint!!) and some authentic looking hardware, and it'll be ready to go. First I have to paint the lower 36" of the room denim blue, then add the red bandana border I found (think chair rail) and clean his carpet. Then we can put the bed in and change out all of the decor. His old Classic Pooh stuff will go in my craft room (aka guest room) since the colors match the stuff in there, and I can't bear (no pun intended) to put away the wall hanging of Piglet my mom made before he was born.

Once I figure out how to do it, I'll upload some photos for you to see.

Otherwise, things here are status quo. The weather was AMAZING today...it was partly cloudy, a light breeze, and 76 degrees. Woo Hoo! I shut off the A/C and opened every window in the house. It was so nice to have the fresh air in here all day. We did have to turn the A/C back on before Marc went to bed, because he'd fry without it. I can't wait until the stupid thing is shut off all the time in the fall!

I have been riding Ranger at least twice a week, and he's doing so amazingly well that I'm almost thinking he was abducted by aliens and this is a different horse in his place. Wow! He's doing stuff I never thought we'd accomplish together, and I couldn't be prouder of the old guy.

On a nifty note, my best friend Stephanie (who sent Scout out here to live with me) is now less one horse...finally. The lady who owns the barn I board at (Anna) is taking Scout's momma Tequila to be a full time lesson horse. It's a great situation for everyone; Anna gets a well-broke sweetie of a horse to give kids lessons on, Tequila gets an awesome job with health benefits, free room and board, and all the love in the world from a bunch of little girls, and Steph gets the burden of one unused horse off her wallet, and into the competent caring hands of Anna. Win, win everyone! Anna and I are going to travel to OK to pick her up and haul back to AL. The drive will be about 14 hours one way; we'll go on a Sunday and Monday, within the next couple of weeks. It should be a fun trip!

Off to bed I go. I have to work tomorrow...by myself. It'll be fun, though. I'll have my MP-3 player, and I'll be working on the base so I can have lunch with Marc. ;) Talk to you later!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Another one bites the dust!

Well, Tyler woke up this morning and reported that one of his bottom teeth was loose. By 7:30 tonight, that sucker was out! He wiggled it all day; it was really bothering him. He wanted Tylenol and a nap...you KNOW it was hurting if all the boy wanted to do was sleep it off! So, after dinner, he asked Marc to pull it out for him. It came right out, and Tyler is so relieved! We got it on video. This is his third baby tooth to come out in 6 months' time...wow!

I just read one of my best friend's blog...Leah's...and she posted a link to a Go Fish! video. They usually do a concert at the MOPS Convention. I've seen them twice, and totally love them. This year the Convention is in Dallas...I'm so bummed. If I was still living in Abilene, I'd still be with my beloved MOPS group, and going to Convention with them. Sigh. Maybe I'll just get in the car and start driving...

Today was the "spruce up the barn" workday where I board Ranger. I've never come home that filthy from the barn...EVER. It was gross. We took down cobwebs (and consequently killed lots of spiders), swept aisles, painted jumps in the arena, cleaned tack rooms and the bathroom, scrubbed water buckets...you name it, we did it. The owners provided pizza, potato salad and desserts. Someone was wonderful enough to fill a huge cooler with lots of ice and sodas. In all, the day went well, and the barn looks really nice and better organized. Lots of the 4-H girls were out there, so it was fun to listen to them chatter away all day.

Steph's horse, Scout, who is currently living here in Alabama at the neighbor's farm, has been recently renamed to "BRAT". The little creep jumped a four foot tall fence to get to the hayfield on the other side. What a punk! However, she just totally hosed herself...now we know she can clear a fence that tall with no problem...so in addition to her English training, she'll be trained how to jump obstacles, too! I think she'd make one heck of a nice Cross-country jumper. Those are the horses that go on the long courses and jump all kinds of cool things within a specified amount of time. She's not afraid of anything (unless it looks like a needle), and she looks built for speed. I cannot wait to get her to the barn and get her under saddle. She's trained to ride Western, but she has long elegant legs and a graceful neck so we're switching her over to English. She's gonna be gorgeous!

Not much planned this weekend. Last night we went to the football game; we bought season tickets for the local high school. We went with Deborah, George and Lydia. Tyler had a BLAST!! We were in the front row of the first elevated tier of bleachers, right on the 50 yard line; we have the perfect seats! Tyler really enjoyed watching, and rooting for the Mustangs, and has informed us he wants to play football. Then he got a hold of Lydia's pom-pom, and that's all he wanted to do after that...shake that thing! Go Mustangs, go Mustangs! He was a great cheerleader. The next game is the 26th, and we can't wait.

Otherwise, we're just watching Lydia for the night. George and Deborah are at some kind of a reunion dinner, so we took Lydia and their dog Pitty for them. They don't get too much time alone these days, and neither do we, so we're swapping babysitting duties. They're taking Tyler for the night next Friday; we're headed to see Bill Engvall perform in Montgomery.

It's time to put the "chitlins" to bed. I suppose I should wait until their movie is over. They're watching "Alvin and the Chipmunks". One of Tyler's favorites, and even I like it. The music is pretty good.

See you next time...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mystery solved...

Well, it appears that Marc's weird insoles he got in the mail are to "tide him over" until the completely custom ones come in. I guess because it takes so long to get the fancy-pants ones, they thought he'd appreciate something in the meantime. He's using them, and so far, so good.

Tyler has been having some issues at school...it seems he likes to dork around in line and visit with his friends...when he should be standing quietly. I'm ashamed to admit that this trait is probably from me; just about the only thing I ever got in trouble for in school was talking. Imagine that! :) So, we've been trying to give the boy some incentive to do his best at school. We've talked about how his teacher has 13 other kids, and it's hard to keep everyone on track at the same time. He needs to be helpful by respecting the rules and doing as he's asked. He needs to be a good example to other kids in the class, so they see how to properly behave in line. We talked about how upset some kid would be if they got in trouble for being silly in line because Tyler was being silly...and it's not a "friend" thing to do to the other kids. He seems to be grasping the concept really well, so we'll see how the next few days go.

On the flip side, he's been getting a lot of "Gotcha's!" for good behavior. Gotcha's are little slips of paper that a child receives from a teacher when they're caught in the act of being nice, helpful, or respectful. The goal is to rack up at least 5 Gotcha's in a month; this enables you to attend the Gotcha Party. The party is held at the end of every month, and they try to do something different for each party. The only example I can think of is the play area completely covered in those giant blow-up slides and bounce houses. Let me tell you...these Gotcha's are a BIG deal. Tyler is trying so hard to get a Gotcha every day; right now he has 8. I think he's tied for first place (although it's not a contest...it's just to challenge the kids to behave).

Maybe I need to snag some of those Gotcha pads....

We are currently hurricane-free. There isn't even a chance of rain in our forecast for the next 10 days. We have some clouds, but that's about it. This is good for us...we need to cut and bale the hay at the farm.

George and Deborah got a call from George's mom, who lives on the property right next door to their farm. She said the last goat...the big black one who escaped from us AGAIN...was at the pasture fence, ramming it with her head. Apparently she wanted IN with the other goats. What a doofus. If she had just cooperated to begin with, she'd be livin' La Vida Loca with the rest of the herd. I'm thinking goats aren't real smart.

I spent 3 hours tonight reorganizing my scrapbooking paper. I finally broke down and ordered some more organizing thingies, and they were delivered today. It was insane. I have enough paper to supply a small store. The sad thing is...I'm not done reorganizing yet! ARGH!! Oh well; I suppose that's why they call it a hobby...

Tyler has decided he wants to be Buzz Lightyear AND Batman for Halloween. I'm assuming it means we'll have to take him on two trips around the block...one in each costume! Ha!

We've been sucked in. Alabama has sucked us into its football grasp. We are now the proud owners of season tickets (first row on the second deck, thank you very much) for the local high school! Our not-so-bad price includes reserved parking at no charge, reserved seats, access to the hospitality tent (which provides food and beverages), and the forthcoming new bathrooms. Oh, and Tyler is free! It should be fun...we'll be going with the neighbors. I've always loved high school football games, and even the games at USAFA (mostly because those had fly-by's!).

Work for me is going well. I really am enjoying both jobs. I'm getting a ton of experience at the barn, working with different horses on different issues. I'm also getting a ton of experience caulking tubs and cleaning ovens! Seriously, both jobs are fairly easy, and it's stuff I like to do and think I'm fairly good at. Beats any job involving pantyhose, that's for sure.

Off to bed. I say that, then I get in there and read "just one more chapter", and before I know it, it's an hour later than I thought it was. Good grief. Yet I still try...

Monday, September 1, 2008


Well, we had an interesting weekend! We went to our neighbor's farm, which is about 35 minutes from our house. The drive is nice, once you're in the country. We had one plan for the whole 3 day weekend...catch the goats.

About 3 weeks ago, we were at the farm, and decided to go purchase 4 goats to put in the pasture with the horses. There are a LOT of things in the pasture that the horses won't eat, but the goats love. They're really good at keeping the fences clean and free of vines and weeds. So, we picked up four Briar goats...three nannies and a billy. The billy is Tyler's goat; his name is Leo. He's a cute little bugger, too. Tyler is in love with this goat. We had to get Leo brushes, a halter and lead rope, a feed scoop, and apparently Leo needs his own feed dish. Tyler likes to feed the goats dried corn, and the goats gobble it up like candy.

So, the goats settled in for their first night, and did fine. They were in a pen seperate from the horses, but could see the horses, and were interested in them. The next morning, George and Deborah attempted to move the goats from their pen into the pasture with the horses, and the little creeps escaped! They got spooked by the horses suddenly appearing from down the hill, and off they went...across the street and into the 3000 acre ranch over there. Ugh. Now we had goats on the lam. Hee hee...

Deborah and the guys went out looking for them, and managed to catch the biggest nanny, whom we think is pregnant. We shoved her skinny furry butt into the horse pasture, and set out to get the other three. They had by then buried themselves deep in the woods, we think. They were probably really hiding in the brush watching us walk around calling "here goats! Here goaties!". Creeps.

So, the project this weekend...the only thing we HAD to accomplish...was get the two youngest goats back...Leo and Lucy (who is Lydia's goat...she's Deborah and George's daughter). George was serious about this mission...he came out of the farmhouse completely clothed in camo. He said he even had his facepaint out! We loaded the kids up in the truck, and drove up the street a bit to the last place they'd been spotted. Deborah and George know everyone in the area, including someone in the Sheriff's department, so there was an APB out in the community regarding these wayward beasts.

After about an hour in the sun, LOTS of running and diving to the ground, we managed to get the two little ones rounded up against a wall of dirt in an excavation pit. Deborah body-slammed the female and got her in a head-lock, and I managed to shoulder the little guy in the ribs and knock him off balance...and into George's legs. George snatched him up off the ground, and that was that! It sounds kind of violent, but let me tell you...the littlest one is about 30 pounds, they're experts at escaping, and they have four sharp little hooves. You have to be aggressive when you want to catch one, or you won't catch anything but a hoof in the face.

So, here's Deborah holding the female, George holding the male, and Marc in the middle holding the rope that's tied around each goats back leg, in case they break free of the human's grasp. We're about a quarter-mile from the truck, where the kids are locked in the air conditioning. I'm standing there, out of breath and amazed that we actually caught them. We were going to walk the goats back to the truck, but everyone was so blasted tired from being a goat wrangler that it was decided to bring the truck to the goats. Quickly, lest they escape again. Guess who had to go get the truck???

Yes, I ran a quarter-mile, without stopping, over uneven terrain and down a hill with a sharp left turn in it. I'm surprised I didn't trip and kill myself, and I'm really surprised I was able to run that far without passing out for lack of air! When I got into the truck, Tyler was asking me questions, that I couldn't answer, because I had no air in my poor screaming lungs.

We drove the goats back to the farm, put our hands all over them to get them used to humans, put a neon-rainbow halter on Lucy (we didn't have one small enough for Leo!), and released them into the pasture. They quickly found the farthest back corner possible, and stood there staring at everything. They saw the horses, and that there was another goat in there, so they started bleating a little. The older goat (Bessie) bleated back, and then everything was fine in the pasture. As of our departure today, all three goats are hanging out with the horses, the horses could care less about the goats, and the goats know that people bring corn. It's all good.

Tyler is happy because Leo is back. My thighs are sore from my quarter-mile sprint. George is hurting from the roll he took on the ground. But dammit, the goats are back!!

In other news, the hurricanes are currently NOT predicted to hit Alabama. Our 10-day forecast on the weather channel shows nice weather and very little chance of rain. Yay! Maybe our mud at the barn will dry up...that stuff is sticky and nasty.

Marc got his new arch supports for his chronic foot pain. The doctor thinks the pain is coming from the main tendon on the underside of his foot being pinched and irritated. When he lays in bed, there's no pressure on the tendon, and that's when the swelling starts and wakes him up with extreme pain. That's the theory, anyway. We both still think it's something else, but what do we know?! The doctor made custom molds of both of his feet, and he was told that the orthotics would take quite a while to come in. That didn't surprise us, because Marc's had custom orthotics made before. What did surprise us is that they showed up in the mail less than two weeks later. When we opened the box, there were two pair of what appears to be off-the-shelf shoe inserts. What's custom about that? They came in plastic sleeves with labels on them saying "Mens 10-10.5". Sounds like off-the-shelf to me. So, Marc took a pair in to his doctor's office and left them with a note asking if this is what the doc wanted for him. We're still waiting to hear back from the doctor. Of course. I'll let you know how it comes out, but let me tell you what...someone needs to figure this out and fix it. Poor Marc has been through the wringer with tests and doctors, and still has this horrid pain that wakes him up most nights. Not good for a guy who has to get up early and go to work in the morning...

Well, it's time to turn off "Animal Cops" and shut down the computer for the night. I'm bushed. And my thighs are still protesting this weekend's Olympic trials...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another week done, and a holiday weekend coming up. The weather is back to normal (if you can call "stupid-hot" normal) and the flowers in the garden out back look fabulous from all the rain. The weatherman thinks Gustav will head away from Alabama...for now, anyway...so maybe we won't get blasted again. Even the frogs were drowning after this last storm.

What are the weekend plans? Well, we're headed to the neighbor's farm. We've become part of their family, and they take great care of us. They love Tyler like he's their own, and spoil him rotten. He loves it. Their daughter has Down's, and we're learning so much about it. She's such a sweet girl, and smart as a whip. She's ALWAYS on the honor roll at school. Tyler loves hanging out with her because she loves to watch movies as much as he does. Anyway...back to the plans...we'll be heading to their farm to hang out and relax. Marc and Tyler will go camping over by the pond...Tyler is SO excited to go camping in Daddy's big tent. He wants to make shadow puppets with his flashlight. :)

I'll be working with the horses...Scout and Nani. They both need a major spa day. Scout is my best friend Stephanie's horse, and she's a 3 year old knockout. Talk about gorgeous! She's living here with "Aunt Shannon" for a while, learning how to be a fabulous riding horse. The hope is to take her to horse shows next summer; her formal training officially starts this October. I can't wait! So, we spend time with her at the farm working on her ground manners, and respect for people and their "personal space". Scout has NO concept of personal space. She'd much rather be in your pocket, looking around at the amazing and interesting world around her. She's SUCH a child! She's not scared of anything...just incredibly curious. I've never seen anything like it. She's pretty brave for her age...which is why I think when she's older, she'll be a wonderful companion for Steph's kids...very trustworthy and careful.

We love going to the farm. It's so beautiful and quiet. And there's a pool...major bonus. A big honkin' above ground swimmin' hole. It's Tyler's favorite part of the whole weekend! We take the dog with us, too. He loves to bound through the grass, nose going ninety miles an hour, chasing Pitty. She's the neighbor's dog, and she was pretty much raised out there on the farm. She's a great little dog, and these two pups play together every chance they get. It's actually pretty pathetic; we went on vacation and left Piper next door to hang with Pitty for the week. We came home, picked him up, and both dogs went into this little depression-type phase. Piper wouldn't talk to us, and Pitty started leaving her "calling card" in all the rooms of their house. Good Lord, we had to get the dogs together for a "play date" so they'd get over being seperated. It was crazy. Oh well, at least they get along, right?!

Tyler had an excellent week at school. He brings home some form of art project every day. On Thursday, he came home with a paper plate that he had drawn a smiley face on. He said it was his "I like school" face.

The school has started a reading initiative for the kids...read 100 books during the school year, and you get awards and a party at the end of the year. So, we started reading a book every night. Tyler can read some words, but has gotten really, really good at sounding out the ones he doesn't know yet. Once he reads the word, he pretty much knows it after that. So, Marc sat with him on the sofa, and they read a Veggie Tales book, "Larry learns to listen". It's really cute. I LOVE Bob the Tomato...So there I am, on the computer (where else?!!!) and I'm listening to them read the book. I almost fell off the chair when Tyler read a whole sentence in the book by himself. I swear, this child amazes me every day. He gets SO excited when he reads...he feels like such a "big boy".

Speaking of "big boy", we're starting the process of changing his room over from Pooh to Cowboy. We have to get him a twin bed, do a little painting, and change the stuff on the shelves and the walls. It'll be a fun project, and Tyler is pretty excited about his new big boy room. I'll post before and after photos when we get it done.

Well, I suppose I should head to bed. I'm beat. I worked at the barn today for about 6 hours, picked Tyler up at school, and headed back to the barn to meet the vet. He came out to file down Ranger's teeth, in order to give the old guy a better grinding surface. We think in another 4-5 years, he won't have any molars left at all. Sigh. Getting old sucks. However, the vet asks me every time he sees Ranger..."how old is he again?". I suppose he doesn't think Ranger looks like he's 24, either. :) By the way, Ranger and I just celebrated 15 years together!!! The joke in our house is that I've owned Ranger longer than I've "owned" Marc...

I'll probably post after the long weekend is over. I hope all of you have a great time...do something fun!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Start your engines!

And we're off!

Well, we've stepped into the new millenium. At the request of several friends, I've started a blog so you can keep up with our crazy-busy lives.

At this moment, Tyler is at school, Marc is at work, and the dog is back in bed. Lazy bum. I'm heading to the barn in a while to ride Ranger. Tropical storm Fay is finally moving out of the state, and the sun is out for the first time in 4 days. Now we just have to worry about Hurricane Gustaf ruining our Labor Day weekend...

Tyler is really enjoying Kindergarten! He's doing very well in his class, has made a couple of new friends, and loves his teacher. He comes home with artwork every day; we'll be mailing some to grandparents and great-grandmothers soon.

I'm enjoying the two part-time jobs I have...which both allow me to pick Tyler up from school by 3 every day. That, and the extra income to support my hobbies (habits?!!) is wonderful!

So, nothing really exciting for this first post on the brand-spankin new blog. Now I have to go figure out how to post pictures and stuff!

Stay tuned for more...