Happy Picture Post!

I know things have been Willow, Willow, Willow for almost a week up in here. To keep updated, just click on the #TeamWillow tag.

I just wanted to post some pictures of things that aren’t all doom and gloom and broken horses (so mostly pictures of Shannon)!


Comfy, Dixie?


Jaxson FINALLY figured out that the bed is pretty comfy!


Waiting on her Daddy to get home.



Charlotte’s going home outfit! If she’s early, Nana hooked us up with some other adorable options. 😉


Watching the barge at the company BBQ!


Confo shot of my girl after I worked her last Saturday. ❤


Shannon got her first hair cut on Sunday!


Just melts my heart…

We’re doing well. I am SO ready for Charlotte to make her appearance already. We only have about 2 weeks to go, if she’s anything like her big sister! 3 at the most. It’s been a long, exhausting week but these pictures show all of the things that make everything all better.


Team Willow!

Hey y’all! I hope that everybody is doing well. 

I wish I had a better update, but we’ve had a rough couple of days over here, compliments of my big bay mare. 

**This post is going to be long, wordy, and probably full of gross pictures. Just a disclaimer.**

Lets start at the beginning. 

(10/22) Sunday Night: Mike, Shannon, and I headed to the barn to do afternoon chores after the AWESOME surprise baby shower that the barn group threw me. Willow had been out all day, since it was beautiful out. We brought her in, gave her dinner, and I did my usual routine of going over her with her favorite brush while I checked for lumps and bumps. Sure enough… 





Willow, as I’ve learned over the years, is a sweller. Every cut and bump blows up like a balloon. This, though, was alarming not just because of the SIZE but because of the location. Right on the joint. I immediately called the awesome Dr. Robertson (who called me right back) while we scrubbed it up with iodine and kept cold water on the joint. I explained what had happened, and texted her the above pictures. She agreed with me that the location was not good, and she wanted to see her first thing in the morning. I gave her 2 grams of bute and applied Corona ointment. We tried to wrap the joint, but she was REALLY not happy with the idea so I decided that having her kick all night would do more harm then good. She was not lame at all.

(10/23) Monday AM: Willow was stiff, but walked right out of it in the indoor. The swelling had gone down, but the cut was leaking clear fluid (not good, as it was more than likely joint fluid). Dr. Robertson took a look at it, and we agreed that we needed to take some films to see how close the cut was to the joint. We took several films, and they confirmed our suspicions that the abrasion was lying right up next to the joint. We took blood for a white blood cell count, as well as joint fluid samples to send to UK for a cytology (so they would let it sit for 48 hours to see what kind of bacteria was growing in there). Dr. Robertson also took samples for her own cytology/blood work so we could get a jump start on treatment.   UK would take a minimum of 24 hours from when we sent the samples off to START their culture, and when treating a joint infection it’s best to be as proactive and aggressive as possible. We gave her 2 more grams of Bute, and Dr. Robertson wrapped the joint for me. 

Monday PM: Dr. Robertson called me and said that from her lab work Willow’s white blood cell count was low. During an infection, the cell count is normally high, however Dr. R was fairly sure that her count was so low because her body was ramping up to fight the infection and had sent the cells to the site of the injury. She recommended that we get Willow to her clinic right away to get her started on IV antibiotics and they would flush the joint first thing in the morning. Within a half hour from the phone call, Willow was on the trailer on her way to the clinic. They put her in the stocks to insert her catheter (to make giving the shots easier, since they had to be given every 6 hours) and gave her her first dose. She was a total champ for the whole process. 🙂 Dr. R said that she would give me a call in the morning after they flushed the joint and I would be allowed to go up and see her when she was awake. They flush the joint (I’ll spare “educational” pictures..it’s gross!) to rid the joint of any debris, as well as give it a high volume of fluid, and break down adhesions. Furthermore, it allows the pH in the joint to return to normal, giving the antibiotics a chance to work their antibiotic magic! 

(10/24) Tuesday AM: Dr. R called at about 11 and said that the initial flushing had gone well and I was welcome to go up and see her when I wanted. Apparently she’s become a bit of a celebrity up there. 😉 Mike and I talked a little bit about what we were going to do after she was released from the clinic. She was still going to need to be wrapped and medicated, much more aggressively than when she had cellulitis. Lets take just a brief moment to remember that I’m supposed to have a baby in three weeks… k? Mike, while bless him for throwing himself so enthusiastically into the horse husband world, doesn’t know how to wrap. I would prefer he NOT learn on Willow right now.  We decided that we were going to talk to Dr. R about keeping her at the farm (they also run a boarding and lesson program) so that Willow could have the care that she needed. I was speaking to a friend about what we wanted to do, and she recommended a rehab facility about an hour away. I made plans to take a visit out that afternoon and Shannon and I jetted off to see Willow before the appointment. 



She was grumpy and groggy, but still mugged me for a peppermint and let Shannon pet her nose. She has a window in her stall, and really just enjoyed standing and watching the geese in the pond. She can’t quite figure out what those things weird things are! Dr. R said that her cytology was still negative at the 24 hour make, which gives us a 50/50 chance of there being no bacteria in the joint. It has to sit for 48 hours. She said that it was tentatively a good thing, as anything that was growing aggressively would have shown by now. However, we still had 24 hours and I wasn’t allowed to get excited as some bacteria is slow to grow. Once we know exactly what we are dealing with, we can adjust her antibiotics accordingly. Right now she is receiving penicillin and gentamicin as a broad spectrum preventative, as well as banamine to help with pain and swelling. 

Tuesday PM: I met with the owner of the rehab facility and was highly impressed. She was clean, organized, and had a WONDERFUL track record with all kinds of injuries. She was very optimistic about Willow’s chances of bouncing back from this and she has the set up to do just about anything that Willow needs as well as two acclaimed vets on staff. The aftercare of this kind of injury is just as important as the initial steps taken, in order for it to be a successful recovery. If the joint gets re-infected, Willow will have to be put down. In order  to give Willow the best shot of bouncing back from this, I know that sending her to Melody at Aurora Farms is the right choice after visiting with her for about an hour. Dr. R agrees with my decision. Thank you so much, Linda! 

(10/25) Wednesday AM: Dr. R called me and let me know that Willow’s joint flush went VERY well this morning and that her joint looks fantastic. It’s the first time that I’ve heard her unguarded about her optimism and that’s a wonderful thing! She said that if they are going to do well, then their joints typically look like Willow’s did this morning as far as heat and swelling were concerned. She is still not lame. We both did some squealing on the phone, and I said that I would be up after Shannon’s nap time to visit and say hello. She didn’t say anything about the cytology cultures, but I’m thinking that the end time is much later this afternoon. I haven’t been up yet, but I’m excited to go see her. 🙂 She will be released from the clinic on Friday morning, barring any issues, and will make the trip to Melody’s then. 



We aren’t out of the woods, not nearly, and we still have a few weeks before we can breathe easily again. I’m going to make a this into a tab of it’s own, so I can continue to update everybody as things progress with her care. You can find it up top. 🙂 

I want to say a huge thank you to everybody for all the good wishes, calls, texts, and prayers. Special thanks to Ashley for the #teamwillow hashtag! I know that they play a big part in helping Willow pull through this and they are wonderful for boosting my morale! Willow has a crack team of doctors, nurses, and cheerleaders in place and I’m keeping the faith that she will come out of this on the other side and we can continue our journey together. The stress of not knowing what the next few weeks will bring is something that I don’t wish upon any person and the financial strain on our family is something that we were not expecting this close to having baby Charlotte.

It’s been mentioned by a few people that we start a fundraiser, selling Team Willow/Finally Forever After t-shirts, to help deflect some of the costs of her care and so people can show their support of my big ‘ole sweetheart! I’ll keep everybody updated on if we go through with it or not, and where you can get your shirts once we get them made up. Please keep rooting for her and I’ll keep updating on the page. 🙂 

We love you all! 



– Cate & Willow

Ain’t Yo Momma’s Apple Crisp…

Hey y’all! 

Shannon and I have been exploring the world of baking lately, since we try to fill our afternoons with something fun that we can do together. I use the word “together” loosely since she usually loses interest in the first two seconds (duh) and I end up doing all the work while she reeks havoc on the rest of the house. It’s fun. 

Baking is easy, because you have a recipe to follow and it usually don’t involve knives.  Flour is easy to clean up. Last week we tackled cookies, and they came out much better than I expected. Since it’s “fall”, I decided that this week we would try to make an apple crisp! 

So how did it go? 

Well, by the numbers… 

 Total Shannon meltdowns: 4


Waiting is hard work… also…notice the critters in the background. This is my life, y’all.

Dog fights: 2 


Dance breaks, courtesy of this song (take those dirty judgy pants off right now!), this song, and this song. : Too many to count. We like to break it down. 


Jax is right to look so concerned.

Times that I said, “I really wish that I’d been taught to peel an apple.”: 5 (that’s how many apples I used)


Take note of non-peeled apples

Items that fell on the floor: 0 


Can’t imagine why…

Minutes that we spent “stirring” the crumbly stuff for on top: 15

ImageImpressed cats: 0

ImageOpportunities taken by Shannon to do things she knows she isn’t supposed to be doing while Mom is busy trying to figure out how to peel the damn apples: I’m not owing up to this one.  


Cutting boards melted when Mom pulled the finished product out of the oven: 1 (whoops…) 



Happy husbands: 1 


And yes. He knew this was going to be on the internet when I took it.

It actually turned out a lot better than I thought that it was going to, considering I have a pretty high bar to meet when it comes to recreating something that even SLIGHTLY compares to my mother-in-laws kick butt apple crisp that I dream about all fall. I hope that Shannon can (eventually) remember the fun we had concocting this stuff and it makes me happy to know that I don’t have to rely on my TV to keep the little one entertained. I wonder what we’ll come up with next week! I know that Mike isn’t complaining. 😉

I’m off for a nap… I hope y’all have a happy Thursday! 🙂 

A Few Confessions… and a horsey coupon code!!

Hey y’all! Hows it going? 

I have a few confessions for you (or you can just skip all my pictures of my kid/horse and scroll right down to the bottom of the post for the good stuff..,your call).

– I’m pretty sure that my kid is growing up way too fast. She picked out her own outfit yesterday AND brought me a hair tie so I could put her hair in a ponytail. My hair is up 99% of the time, and she’s decided that she loves it when our hair ‘matches’. She touches her little ponytail, and then touches mine. It’s adorable. She’s also obsessed with her Crocs that her Aunt Sue got for her last year. They are the only pair of shoes that she doesn’t instantly try to take off the second I put them on. I’m looking forward to revisiting the squishy stage when Charlotte makes her arrival, but I’m having so much fun with Shannon as she grows into a real person. 🙂 



– Shannon has been having some issues sleeping through the night recently. She goes down pretty well, but then wakes up crying. The only way that we could get her to settle down was to bring her in bed with us for a snuggle for 10-15 minutes. I then got the bright idea that we should try a small fish tank in her room. Mike and I picked one out at Wal*Mart that had a bubbler, and soft LED lights. We made the mistake of purchasing the $.32 goldfish to go along with it… all 4 were dead by morning. Shannon marched around the house proclaiming “DEAD!” all day Monday (it was morbidly hysterical. We agreed that when it comes to “the big talks” that we wouldn’t lie to her, or make up stories so when she asked why they weren’t swimming, I explained that they died). She and I went to Feeder’s Supply yesterday and spent big money ($4!) on a Beta fish that she picked out. Mike called him Sherman and I am happy to report that Sherman is still alive AND Shannon slept through the night no problems. Win! 

– I’m still trying to figure out how to port this whole thing over to Blogger so that I can post video. As you can see, I’m failing horribly. 

– I went full Mommy and chopped about 4″ off my hair over the weekend. I’m not sure how I like it, but I am aware how exhausted and haggard I’m starting to look. Charlotte needs to just get here already. I haven’t shared many details, but this pregnancy has been really rough on me (my total weight gain to date is 4 pounds… at 34 weeks) and my body is ready to be done already. So is my mind. I really need to ride my horse again, mostly. 



– Speaking of my horse. Willow is in the midst of a heat cycle from hell. Her fall transitory cycle was hard last year too, and when we get shots/teeth done, I’ll be chatting with my vet (who specializes in Repo work) about options. Homegirl is like a rabid animal in the self mutilation stages and it’s not pretty.  She’s pretty much been sequestered to her stall until she stops body slamming, squealing, and peeing on things when the wind blows. She keeps hurting herself, and I’m really tired of finding fresh blood and scrapes from her whore-ish behaviors. Also. Heat pee really, really stinks. TMI? That’s okay. It’s all part of the charm of this little blog. 😉 


– I have an obsession with nice things when it comes to my horse. This is a problem. When it comes to horses, nice things are pretty expensive. For the most part I can justify spending more money on the big ticket items (like tack) because the better the quality the longer the item normally lasts. Usually the pricier brands comes with better customer service as well (I’m looking at you, SmartPak).  One of my current, more, shall we say indulgent, obsessions these days are Back on Track products. Show me a horse person who doesn’t love every piece of BoT equipment that they’ve bought and I’ll call them a lying liar who lies. 😉 Unfortunately, BoT is also on the pricey side (it’s even worse when you spend $80 on standing wraps and your mare EATS THEM the first night…BAD WILLOW). I think that the benefits totally outweigh the price, but my husband is not so convinced. Luckily, my good friends at Iselltack.com want to help me and y’all out with that problem! They are offering us a promotion of $20 off your order of $100 or more. Score! They not only offer my beloved BoT products (for humans and pooches as well!) but a huge line of high quality saddles, DeNiro boots, Baker Sheets (obsessed with those too), Jin Stirrups, and other quality goodies! The customer service can’t be matched either, so it’s a win-win for everybody! Go. Now! 

*** To take advantage of their awesome offer, enter the coupon code Brandt20 at checkout! ***



Dixie hopes that y’all have a great Tuesday!! 

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Willow’s in the tub! Rider Review

Hows it going, y’all? 

It’s been like… weeks since I actually updated this thing, but I’ve been more excited about snagging every napping opportunity that I can, while I still can. Which means that the blog has been an epic fail… BUT here I am, with a review! 🙂 

When we first moved to KY, Willow had a hard time dealing with the heat/bugs. I’ve talked about it before. She has sensitive skin, so the heavier duty fly spray would give her a reaction if I left it on too long. That required nightly baths to make sure that I got all the chemicals off her skin. Vetrolin bath was (and still is) my go to. When you have a horse with sensitive skin, you have to be careful when it comes to shampoo-ing every night. Vetrolin did the trick, and the smell… yum! 

Then we started dealing with cellulitis and tendon issues and the Will-i-nator (I have way too many nicknames for this horse!) had to stay in 24/7 for a while. For whatever reason, she started developing weird little scurfy patches all over her body. Gross. Then her legs got all flakey. When it’s 100* and she had to stand in standing wraps the majority of the day (I took them off while I cold-hosed/grazed her for an hour or so in the AM and PM so that her legs could breathe) I wasn’t surprised, but the Vetrolin just wasn’t cutting it when it came to the battle of the creepy crud. 

Enter E3 Antibacterial/Antifungal Shampoo! 

When I hit up the tack store in search of an anti-gross shampoo to add to my arsenal, I originally skipped over it, since I haven’t been overly impressed with their other products in the past and it’s not really the yummiest smelling concoction. Usually when dealing with unknown crud, I like to pick up some Sore-No-More (The Sauce… but you have to say it with a superhero voice to make it effective), but they didn’t have any in stock. Finally the price sold me… $12.99 for the 32oz bottle (The Sauce is $14 for an 8oz bottle). I figured I’d give it a shot, and if it didn’t work… it wouldn’t be a huge loss. I would have waited for The Sauce to come in, but I don’t like to let skin issues go. Gross gets gross-er quick, especially when sweat is involved!

Anyways, home I went to give Homeslice a bath and test out the new goo.


The arsenal…

As I mentioned before, the smell is not my favorite and Willow gave it the side eye when I dumped it in the bucket. That’s not unusual though, since she gives everything that has to do with bath time the side eye. I’ve tried to convince her it’s not a good look for her, but she insists. The consistency is pretty similar to regular shampoo. It was just about perfect. Not too runny, but not too thick.

The instructions told me to apply, scrub, allow to sit for 5 minutes and then rinse. So I did. I noticed that while I was scrubbing, it made my arms itch a little bit. No hives or rashes, but they itched until I was able to rinse it off. I was a little worried about letting it sit on Willow’s skin, but kept my faith. She didn’t seem too agitated, but it could have been my soothing Pandora station doing it’s magic.  


Doesn’t she look SO happy? She HAS to stand crooked like this…

We waited, took some blurry iPhone pictures, and I did some singing while Willow did some pouty wiggling.


Hi Charley! Everybody gets this nasty during bath time, right?

It rinsed out pretty easily and quickly, which was nice since Willow does the macarana the entire time. Apparently the wash stall manners lessons we have every. single. day. just don’t stick. She was happy to be done with the whole thing though and I set her to dry in front of her stall fan with a pile of hay as a reward. 



I left for the night (since it was already 9pm). The next morning I skipped into the barn to check the crud status and it was GONE. Seriously. Overnight. Not a trace.

Can we just… #winning! (<-yup. That just happened). 

Needless to say, I give E3 a HUGE thumbs up. It did everything that The Sauce has done for me, at a fraction of the cost and faster! It’s going to stay in the bath bucket for sure. I wouldn’t use it as an everyday shampoo, I’m sticking with Vetrolin for that (the E3 doesn’t compare in the shine factor). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But for the odd stuff that crops up while Willow is adjusting to Southern living… it’s my new go-to.

It’s been a little while since I bought and tried E3, and since then I also used it to clear up a case of horrible scratches that cropped up. Two days and her legs were squeaky clean! It still makes my arms itch (or legs… pretty much wherever Willow flings the suds) but to me that isn’t the biggest deal, since it is so effective when it comes to getting rid of skin issues. I haven’t had any lasting ill effects, so I just rinse it off and carry on with life. 🙂 

So there you have it. Got crud? Get yourself some E3!