Let It Snow!

Last year was kind of a dud, winter wise (you won’t hear this Hawaii grown girl complain), which was great! This year, it seems to be making up for it. We had word that there we were going to be hit by a Nor’easter, and while I groaned a little bit on the outside (snow is a pain in the butt) I was kind of happy to have an excuse for Mike to be home an extra day and to sit on the couch and watch movies with my little snuggle buddy (Dixie).

Snow it did! It snowed, and snowed, and snowed, and snowed. It was fun and rather snuggly warm in the house. Mike got to work from home, after a quick haircut trip, Shannon was in a great mood, and we didn’t go out most of the day other than to put the hound dog out to potty. Dixie decided that the snow was overrated and hid under my sweet new heated blanket on the couch.

Not the heated blanket, but you get the general idea. Silly dog.

Not the heated blanket, but you get the general idea. Silly dog.

 

Finally, there is only so much farting around on the couch that a girl can do, so the dogs and I got suited up for playtime in the snow. We have a short walking path about a 1/4 mile or so from the house, since it wasn’t safe to walk around the road sidewalk-less, we quickly made our way there for some playtime. The dogs loved it! The snow was a little bit high for Dixie, but she was in little dog heaven leaping about in the drifts and picking fights with Jaxson. Having two dogs is a heck of a lot more fun than just one, although a bit more for a challenge to  walk.

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It was a lot of snow for a little dog.

We did more playing than walking I think which was just fine by me.

Muggin' it for Mom.

Muggin’ it for Mom.

I love their little snow covered faces. <3.  It was starting to get chilly though, so we turned around and made our way back home. The path wasn’t plowed so wading through the snow drifts was a good work out. It was up to my knees in some spots. I must underestimate Dixie’s sniffer, because she suddenly found some smell that, to her, was worth digging a hole and shoving her head under the snow for. It was pretty hysterical.

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But it’s something good, Mom!!

I got home, and Shannon was up from her nap so I suited her up for her own playtime in the snow. Two snowsuits and some protesting later we went out into the snow and I plopped her down. She wasn’t really sure what to make out of it, and there was a lot of just sitting and looking around. It may have been because she couldn’t move thanks to the two snowsuits.

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Then she decided to have a taste. 🙂

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But she couldn’t reach, so she just flopped over backwards and chilled out. She figured out that if she opened her mouth the snow *might* fall into it. It was adorable.

Snow angel... baby style!

Snow angel… baby style!

 

Then we played for a bit longer (read: Mom snapped some pictures) and went back into the house for tea and snuggles.

yay!

 

Grinding her teeth.... *sigh*

Grinding her teeth…. *sigh*

Speaking of teeth grinding. That’s a new habit and holy cow! It makes my mouth hurt!

It was a great day, we had Daddy home an extra day (yay!), got lots of time to relax and just hang. 🙂 To top it off, Dixie’s big girl collar came in the mail from SmartPak! She’s got a bit more bounce in her step, and it’s adorable. Around here they have to earn their leather. 😉

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‘Twas The Night Before Christmas….

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Merry Christmas, y’all!!

Jaxson

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Merry Christmas Jaxson!! Welcome Home! 

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Take A Pill, Pilly!

Willow. She has NONE.

After our no good very bad horrible ride on Saturday, I have done a lot of question asking, reading, research, soul searching, and self pep-talking.

(Big thanks to my COTH friends for putting up with me. ;))

What I came up with was a few different things.

First, I took a hard look at what Willow was eating. We’ve cut back her rations by a quarter, and I also broke down and added a calming supplement (Vita-Calm). If we find that she starts losing weight (she isn’t the easiest of keepers) we’re going to add an oil (fish or soy) and up her hay flakage. She’s currently on a Senior feed, as it’s easy to digest (oh that tummy!) and I’d like to keep her on it for that reason. If this doesn’t help, we’re going to try switching her to a lower protein grain, and add a Cool Calories type supplement. I need to learn A LOT about grain, it’s not a strong suit of mine, but we’re getting there. It’s going to take a little bit of time before we can really tell if the new combo is helping.

Second, I looked at how I spent my time. I usually am rushed. I show up, throw tack on her, ride, then leave. When she was at Frog’s Leap, I spent lots of time just chilling with her. Playing on the crossties, whatever. Now, every time I show up, we work.  You might that I’m crazy, but I think it has something to do with her being sour about me. I spent some time on Tuesday just hanging in the arena with her, letting her stretch her legs.

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She was happy to zoom back and forth, trying to kick my head in and refusing to let me walk up to her. That was fine. I just kept quietly pushing her, letting her get her emotions out. I don’t prescribe to the natural horsemanship bit, but I have learned by watching, and I was able to get Willow trotting in a figure 8 using just my posture. Her ears were up most of the time, and her eye relaxed. After about 20 minutes of tooling around, we went from head high and snorty monster horse, to chill, just walking, do as I asked chill mare.

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I kept pushing, though, asking her to move away. Not quickly, just walk. Her ear was locked on me, eye relaxed, head low (ish… low for Willow…). When I took the pressure off, she’d stop and look at me. When I put the pressure on, she’d walk off again. Cluck-trot… easy walk… totally chill. Big change in physco horse of last week.

8874_381946481899183_1404129480_nGood girl! I want to try to make a point of doing that once a week or so.

Third, I looked at Willow as a whole. There is only so much that feed and ‘nice-horsey’ will get me. She’s a hot horse. Her breeding is hot.  Her pea brain is a flaming inferno of naughtiness.  I have to accept the fact that we’re going to have bad days, and when they are bad, they are going to be really, really bad. As a rider, it’s my job to say “No. You cannot be a brat. You must do as I ask. When you get over yourself, I’m still going to be here.” She is not the kind of horse that I will ever be able to say, “Ok. That was good enough, I’ll let that slide.” If I give her an inch, she is GOING to take a mile.  She’s not the kind of horse that  I will be able to bully into doing as I ask.  She is not a patient horse that will stand for hours while I piddle around.

I took those thoughts and I applied it to my approach.  She does need to learn to be patient. That is our goal for the moment. Patience. I went up with a plan.

I tacked up, and lunged her both ways until she was listening to each sound that came out of my mouth. She was in tune, and good to go. Then we wandered over to the mounting block and just stood there. And stood there. And stood there. I watched her go through little mental stages. First she was interested in what we were doing.  Then she tried getting out of it by walking forwards, backwards, sideways, etc. Then she started inventing monsters and snort snort snorting away. I just kept ignoring her. Then she gave a huge sigh, cocked a hind foot, and fell asleep. Lots of patting, good girls!!!! cookies, and home we went.

The next time, I did the same, tacked up, lunged (so she didn’t think that she was going to be getting OUT of any work with her shennanigans), and then pulled up to the block again. This time the stages came a lot faster. Once she relaxed, I climbed up on the block and played around like she was a baby horse. She ‘woke up’ a bit, but didn’t move. I swung on and she stood like a rock. 🙂 We did some walk, whoa, walk, whoa, wait wait wait and then ended it on a good note (whoa, a few minutes of standing, and GOOD GIIIIRRRLLLLL done). We need to work on her patience. I should be able to ask her to stand as long as I need her to. It’s going to be a fight. She’s not EVER had to be patient for anything in her 8 years. We’ll get it done though. 😉

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10!

Double digits, yo!

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So. 10 things about 10 months!

1) Teeth- As of last night, we have TWO official teeth! TWO! They didn’t come in, in pairs like most kids. She has her top right tooth and her bottom right tooth. I think that we’re going to teach her to play the banjo and make moonshine next. They don’t seem to be bothering her *too* much for now. We’ll see when the rest start making their appearance. 😉 We figure we can only be so lucky for so long!

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2) Toys- Pretty much anything is fair game as far as toys are concerned. She LOVES anything that crinkles, wrinkles, or makes noise. Bonus points if it gives Mom a heart attack when she plays with it. I’m looking at you, electrical sockets. She can almost pry the baby proofing plastic bit out of them, so it’s time to be more imaginative! Some other safe favorites? Anything at Nana’s house trumps everything x’s 100. She also loves half full water bottles, magazines/cd cases on tabletops, rattles, dog toys, Dad’s ears, diapers, and spoons. Pretty simple kid, really.

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3) She’s movin’ and groovin’ like a pro, but still not walking yet. She zooms around our furniture like a pro. She’s beyond quick, and we have to keep her within arms reach most all times, or she’s into something. She can stand on her own for 10 seconds or so, and takes tiny steps. We aren’t pushing her, we know that we’ll be on the run once she gets going so we’re savoring this bit as long as we can. She loves to walk holding our hands, but, being only 10 months she’s pretty easily distracted!

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4) Food- She loves to eat just about anything that we put in front of her. We have a pretty good breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack routine. I’ve come to love the HappyTot pouches for days when we’re on the go. We’ve gotten the green light from her doctor to give her just about anything, and she’ll happily chow down on what we put in front of her. Some favorites? Carrots, bear meat, mashed potatoes, Puffs, banana bread, rice, green beans, and broccoli. Not so favorite? Nothing that we’ve tried has been a resounding no.

5) Food makes me think of breastfeeding. We’re all done. I’m sad, it’s bittersweet, but I’m ready for her to move onto the next stage of her life. I will continue to offer it to her, for another week or so, but I am not producing much anymore, and she is not interested. And that’s okay.

6) Sleep. For now, she’s been doing okay. She goes down much, much MUCH better for anybody but me. Our goal most days is a short morning nap and a longer afternoon nap. Bedtime is still normally 7.

7) She still has a limited vocab, of mostly babbling. She’ll spout off the occasional hi, yeah, ‘ditty DAAA’ (kitty cat/Dixie), Mom, Dad, Nana, and bill (Willow). She was very attached to a holiday card that we received in the mail, and sang “Ick muh felf” (Lyric my elf) over and over. Since I took the card away, though, I haven’t heard it again. Silly kid!

8) Loves? Bathtime, the animals, being naked, HappyTot pouches, when Dad comes home, her Nana, calling people on the phone, and drinking out of a bottle like a big girl.

9) Dislikes? Putting a clean diaper on, getting dressed, waiting for….anything, getting buckled into her car seat, snuggling (boo), and putting her shoes on.

10) I can’t believe that she’s going to be a year old in just TWO months! She’s blowing my mind!

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Dismal.

I am so discouraged. 

On Saturday, I recruited my husband to dispense carrots to Willow while I got on- she’s decided that she needs to just do a drive by of the block now- so that she would get the idea to stand still. After the tragedy that was Friday, I needed some serious decompression in the form of barn time. 

I was, instead, met with Willow’s backside when I opened the stall door. *sigh* After a quick negotiation, I was able to catch and tie her. I pulled her blanket off. More ear pinning. *sigh*  I ignored it and began to tack her up. I put her saddle on, as I always do, secured my girth on the first hole. Willow threw her head up and shot backwards. *sigh* I pulled her forward, and finished tacking up. I got myself ready to go, then went in to put her bridle on. As soon as I took her halter off, she tried to spin away with her head straight up in the air. *sigh* I waited her out and while I was trying to get her to accept her bit, she struck out and nailed me right in the leg. Ow. 

We did, eventually get tacked up. I was determined not to let her spoiled antics get to me, not to make me angry, or to get her out of work. My goal for the day was simply to get on. Stand. Stuff her face full of carrots. Get off. Go home. That’s all. 

Ha-freaking-ha. 

I had to chase her all over the arena to tighten her girth, and she bit my shoulder. *sigh*

Arm Mike with carrots and position him at her head with directions not to touch anything, just to shovel carrots as fast as he could, and not stop. (My first mistake). Put foot in iron. Begin to swing leg over. 

Oh. Fuck. 

Willow does the boot scoot n’ boogie right past Mike (who listened and didn’t touch anything… *sigh*) and takes off bucking. Bitch. I am thinking the ponies of my past for my sticky seat as she’s now showing off a beautiful lengthening down the long side. I ditch my one iron, and attempt a pully rein. HA. Willow tucks her head to her chest and blows right through it. 

Mike’s eyes are rather huge, and he’s jumped out of the arena (thanks babe). More pully rein (which is being ignored). Still bucking around  the arena. I am attempting to give and take. Nope. Nothing. 

So here I am. Zooming around the arena. No breaks. No steering. It’s AWESOME. 

I finally manage to get her into a corner where she stops. I attempt to regain my irons. She begins leaping into the air, rodeo bronc style. I thank ponies of the past again. I finally get her head from between her knees and I bail between bucks. 

I know. It’s horrible, but I’m no good to my family broken. 

Willow is still ripping around me in a circle. I ask Mike to get my lunge line. I lunged that mare until *I* wasn’t angry anymore. Then I lunged her some more. And then I lunged her for 5 more minutes for good measure. 

Then we did some in hand stuff. Then faced the mounting block again. Fire Mike, who is standing on the rail. Still wide eyed. 

Much hysteria. More lunging. *sigh* 

Mounting block. I treat her like a baby horse. Pat the saddle. Lean over her. Jiggle irons. Less hysteria. I put my foot in the iron. She swings her butt out. 

More lunging. 

Back to the block. Start over. Put foot in iron and bounce up and down a few times. She stands. GOOOOOOD GIIIIRRRRLLLLL!!!!!! 

Done. 

I sob all the way home.