Monday, March 24, 2014


As the title of this post suggests, we have horses EVERYWHERE in our house. For the most part we have them contained to bookcases. Keeping the horses on the bookcases kept the horses off the floor (and beds, and couch, and counter, etc.), but the lightest bump against the bookcases caused the horses to fall over. No good.

Also, having the horses on the bookcase was a huge waste of space. In the amount of space dedicated to 3 or four horses, we could house 10 or more books. Easy.

But, for the most part, keeping the horses on the bookcases worked.

Until I start running out of space for our books.

Which we have (structured schooling requires a few more resources then winging it). So, I needed a plan.

Actually, there had been a plan brewing in my head for probably about a year, but no real need to put it into action.

Today, however, was that day for action. I couldn't take it anymore so, I took my happy self to Home Depot and purchased some lumber, came home and got to work.

Jared helped :0)

Emma's Horse Corral- 23Mar14 (1)

Emma's Horse Corral- 23Mar14 (13)

Emma had taken pictures for us so we would have some pictures of the middle process and of Jared helping as well (instead of him just taking the photos) but for some reason, they didn't save to the computer. It's a mystery. But Jared did help, I promise!

Emma's Horse Corral- 23Mar14 (25)
Here is how we staged it before letting Emma back into the room. 
She had no idea what we were building. 

Emma's Horse Corral Cleanup 23Mar14
Jared, the funny guy he is, took this picture as proof that I can vacuum. 
I told him if we did more projects I would vacuum more :0)

Emma's Horse Corral- Organizing- 23Mar14 (2)
Emma and her hat full of horses. 

Emma's Horse Corral- Organizing- 23Mar14 (10)
About finished for the night. 

So, we finished this up at about 6:45 pm. It actually only took about 2 hours, start to finish, so not to bad. Originally I wanted to hang this over her bed, but Jared thought she would be able to reach things better if it were lower, so that's what we did. It is still anchored to the wall to provide a nice stable (ha ha) spot for her horses without fear of them falling over. 

The finished size is 4'X4' with about 9" per shelf. That gives her lots of space for her horses, but I am already thinking of making another one. I feel like this will have a lot of wasted space with the Schleich horses, but not enough space for the bigger Breyer horses. Plus, I still think it would be cool to have a smaller version over her bed. 

Once Emma has all her horses on there and arranged to her liking, we will post a more finished photo. But, knowing that she takes after me and can rearrange for days at at time, I wouldn't hold your breath in anticipation for that last photo!

That's it for now. Have a wonderful week! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

January 2014

Catchy title, huh? I am saving my creativity for other things. Like school work.

January was surprising, and fun, then not so fun. And cold. But all is better now!

Amber and Tucker and Jared conspired together and surprised Emma and I with a visit. It was awesome. 

We went to Flippin Family Fun. 
(you can actually flip through all the photos from here I think. If not, click on the picture and it will take you to the album)

Amber beat me up.

And cousins had fun together. 

We took over 600 photos from the weekend. We had a blast. 

While I hate the snow because it's cold, I do still think it's beautiful. 
This picture was taken at 11pm with no flash or other light from me. 

From 8am the next morning. 

Emma eating breakfast while doing Pascel's Triangle

Taking a bow after a small performance she and a friend came up with. 

Horse lessons. 


Check out that air!

Just cause I love this picture (and this guy).

Off on a trip around the block,

Then the two of them headed to the park for a longer ride.

And the next day she was sick. 
(We were trying to steam out the cough)

Water, juice, apples with honey and cinnamon, and tea

After about 4 days she was feeling well enough to go outside and play- after I made her work :0)

Not 100%, but well enough to be a goof ball.

Of course there was also work, school and jiu-jitsu.

What did your January look like?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

What Happened to December?

Not sure if anyone was wondering were we have been, but I thought I would bore you with the details... well photos, anyway of our December.

We were busy with...

Tickle Fights

Bird watching

Reading the complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes

Working on school work 
(or getting our Jiu-Jitsu group up and running)

Horse Lessons (though there are never enough)

Writing a book (or two)



Getting choked

Making faces

Taking photos
(with the old and new cameras)

Being cute

Riding horses and playing with the new camera

Beating people up

Stealing birthday presents 

Goofing off

spending time together

playing with friends

getting spoiled

trying to get back on track with our eating
(and playing around with the new camera)

Trying out new things


waiting patiently for parents to get up so birthday goodies could be opened

eating birthday pancakes

getting long coveted books

and new earrings

giving early Christmas gifts 
(because Da has a tendency to burn potholders when using the cast iron skillets- we didn't want him to burn the house down while we were gone)

being silly at birthday lunch

watching the birthday movie- Frozen

Going to Iowa

While Da worked and rode

Spending time with family

Playing with long lost toys

Snuggling and playing with our newest cousin/niece

Heading back to Montana
(with lots of new goodies)

Opening more goodies upon returning home

even some from Santa

Opening gifts from Iowa

and catching up on tickles. 

How was your December?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just Me

Just a quick post to show off my new hair.

Photo of Mama (1)

And really, who wants a post with just a picture of me? Nobody. So, here are some other shots from this month. 

Self Portrait
Self portrait

Rener, Eve and Me
Rener Gracie, me, Eve Torres 
Graduation day from the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Self Defense/Women Empowered program that was taught at Malmstrom AFB. More on this soon. 

Emma's Homemade Birdfeeder (4)
Emma filling her homemade feeder

Chickadee-dee-dee on Emma's homemade feeder.
Photo by Emma

Downy Wood Pecker (2)
Downy Woodpecker 
photo by Emma

And that's about all I have time for. I hope the approaching winter is treating everyone well!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Back in the Saddle- Yippee!

Internal debate sucks. We love Jill and we really want to stick with her as Emma's trainer, but the thought of a winter without horses is agonizing. When I thought about finding a new trainer, I was constantly assaulted with feelings of disloyalty to Jill.

Then I realized that, a winter without horses would be agonizing! So, I put on my big girl pants and stared looking for another trainer. As luck would have it, we found one!

Jared and I took Emma out to meet Sam (the trainer) and Rodney (the lesson horse) this past Saturday. We chatted with Sam for about 30-40 minutes, got to pet Rodney, and made plans for Emma to start lessons the following Wednesday.

Let me just say that it was good we had a friend coming to play on Tuesday, otherwise the wait would have been unbearable.

Finally, FINALLY, Wednesday arrived.

1st Lesson with Sam at CPH (2)
Off for a little lunging.

1st Lesson with Sam at CPH (6)
Time to mount up!

1st Lesson with Sam at CPH (7)
With a little help from Sam

1st Lesson with Sam at CPH (9)
Neck reigning is a new concept for us. 

The video is about a minute, but it's fun to watch her trot and you get to see how stubborn Rodney is.

1st Lesson with Sam at CPH (13)
And a happy cowgirl after her lesson. 

Rodney is a great horse, much bigger than Meggie or Otis, but he doesn't move much faster than either of them. He is, however, just as hard to get going as Meggie is. Emma informed me, though, that Rodney's trot is almost worth all the work she has to put into him to get that trot. Way smoother than a pony trot.

Emma was super happy to be around horses again (me too!), and we are both looking forward to working with Sam this winter. As Sam is pretty competative, she is pretty busy over the spring and summer months traveling for competitions, so we will see what happens come spring. 

Till then, we are early anticipating our weekly lessons!  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Let's Chat About Weather

Snow sucks.

Well, actually, it is really pretty. But it's cold, melt-y, hard to walk in, and hard to drive it.

So it sucks.

Unless you are 7 (almost 8!). Then it's pretty cool.

The coolest part for me? I can actually stay inside now and let her play outside till she's ready to come in!

8 o'clock at night 27Oct13
8:00 pm 27Oct13

8 o'clock in the morning 28Oct13
8:00 am 28Oct13

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (1)
10:00 am
Dressed and fully ready all on her own. 

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (3)

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (4)

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (5)

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (7)
Enough snow time.

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (9)
Now it's hot cocoa and t.v. time. 

First Snow Day 28Oct13 (10)
1:30 pm 28Oct13
Where'd the snow angel go?

And it's still snowing...

First Snow day 2 (3)
This was at 4pm

First Snow day 2 (1)
Jared's tracks from lunchtime (around noon) are GONE!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Squirrels and Helena

Things have been a bit squirrelly around here lately.

No, literally.

Emma's Squirral (7)
Photo by Emma the Naturalist

Emma loves the squirrel(s). I'm not sure if we have more than one, or just the one. Either way, she is smitten with them. Always wants to pick up food for them when we are out and about. She asked today if she could put the food (a few random sunflower seeds that she had already spread on the ground) into a container for him. 

I love it. 

I was chatting with Gramma on the phone while Emma was filming this video. 

The entire video is almost 3 minutes, but this is my favorite part. You can tell the squirrel is agitated by how fast his tail is moving, but in this bit, he actually shakes the stick at Emma. 

Even though she is inside watching him through the glass. 

What else. The last two weekends we have made trips down to Helena. We would all be happy to move there and live the rest of our lives. 

They have a bike skills park in progress. The only finished part is the pump track. 

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (3)
Jared having fun.

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (36)
That was me trying it out after Jared had been riding for a while. 
My form is terrible, but my outfit? Total awesomeness. 

I was wearing a floor length skirt over some black thermals, so I just hiked up my skirt and tied it in place. Such a trendsetter, I know. 

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (6)
All three of us. 

Emma, of course, had a blast climbing all over the entire track. 

Why else do we love Helena?

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (38)
Just about every street ends in single track (hiking/biking trails)

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (44)
They have the Painted Pot

First Trip to Helena, MT 12Oct13 (47)
There is a carousal! 

And that was all discovered on the first trip!

It's also relatively small, the town is bike friendly, and they have a few different organic grocery stores. What did we discover on our second trip?

Well first of all, we found out that Jared has so much more fun when riding with friends.


He and two other guys rode 26 miles in 5 hours, with about 4200' of elevation climb. That's a lot of miles and a lot of hills! Emma and I discovered that the trail he has ridden both times is an uphill battle from the get-go. 

Following the leader

We only hiked for about 30 minutes because we had lots of plans for in town. The first one being, Art

Helena, MT 20Oct13 (1)
Sculpture by Jay Laber at the Holter Museum of Art 

Now, I knew we would be visiting this museum, and I love the idea of sitting in an art museum sketching the art, so I always have the thought in the back of my mind that if we ever visit an art museum we should bring our sketch books. And lucky me, I actually remembered to grab them out of the truck and take them in with us. Good thing because as soon as Emma saw this, she asked, "Can I sketch it?"

Helena, MT 20Oct13 (3)

Helena, MT 20Oct13 (7)

I have to say, I LOVED all the time we spent in that room. I thought about sketching something right along with her, but I was so in love with watching her sketch, that I just sat and watched her the entire time. 

Actually, I felt like maybe she thought I was pressuring her to hurry up, so a few times I got up and walked around to check out the other sculptures. 

Helena, MT 20Oct13 (5)
Creepy but awesome at the same time. 

I know watching their kid sketch a horse made out of junk metal isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for me, it's so worth it. 

Muesum of Art sketching
Emma's sketch of "Granny's Shabby Pony" by Jay Laber

After we finished up at the art museum, we were hungry. So, we stopped at the organic grocery store that we discovered accidentally on our first trip down when I got lost. We had lunch, stocked up on gluten free jerky, then headed back downtown. We stopped, on a whim, at a used book shop, bought a bunch of books for Emma, then got directions to 3 other places that sell used books. 

One happened to be some guy's house. I thought that a bit odd, but we are really wanting to find some of the books in the series that Emma's working through. This is what awaited us...

Helena, MT 20Oct13 (8)
Those were all the kids books.

So, we proceeded to look through all of them. It took a while. And the guy smoked cigars in his house (though I don't think he had while we were there). We made a decent stack of books we wanted to take home with us

Book Hoarders Bookstore
(there are actually 11, one was hidden and I didn't realize it)

but there were no prices. We were prepared to thin out the pile at the "check-out," (a desk hidden behind piles of books) if needed. 

After pretending to do calculations in his head, he charged us... $3. Three. Whole. Dollars. When I tried to give him a five and told him to keep it, he let me know that would screw up his bookkeeping. As he handed back my change, he let me in on his master plan, "It's like being a drug dealer. Get 'em hooked young and you've got a customer for life." 

We have already decided that his place will be a stop we make each time we visit Helena. Yes the books smell like cigar smoke, but a few days spread out in the shed seems to have fixed that problem. 

If only we could do something about the fact that Helena is 90 minutes away on a day with no snow...