Zoo Day!

Hey y’all! How is it going?

We’re still waiting on Ms. Charlotte over here! We had a long day at the hospital yesterday since I was contracting like CRAZY and just generally uncomfortable and I was ALMOST dilated enough to be admitted, but after being sent walking for a little while I hadn’t made enough progress for them to pull the trigger. Darn it! They sent us home, and honestly I actually started feeling better once we got back. I’ve been feeling ‘normal’ ever since. Total bummer… I’m ready to be done being pregnant. My midwife is on leave this week, but she told me to keep walking. If I can show some improvement by my next appointment, she’s outta there!

One of the things that my midwife told me was to keep walking, and really do things to take my mind off “the wait”, without getting too far away from home, so when some of the barn crew asked if we wanted to join them at the zoo, Mike and I were pretty quick to say yes. It was beautiful out today, and I’m glad that we had a chance to get out and do (probably… hopefully) one last thing as a family of three. We stuck to the top loop of African animals, and Shannon had a blast. 🙂


We started with Shannon’s first ride on the roundabout. Clearly she was not so impressed with the whole experience, but when you’re not quite two, you can feel however you want about them. Mike had the good sense to sit on the horse with her, and I think that that helped her feel a little bit more secure. She still wasn’t a fan, but the ride was overly pretty quickly. I guess we’ll have to wait another year before she steals Stewie from Ashley to tackle the lead-line class at Devon. 😉

From there we wandered towards the petting zoo, where Shannon got to meet some pretty chill goats as well as a couple of donkeys.


The goats sat up on these little logs. I think they knew that they were badass. Shannon had a good time petting them all, but she wasn’t so sure about the horns. She’s a smart kid.

We went to see the giraffes next, and we even got to feed one of the younger ones. Even I have to admit I got a little overly excited about that, and made Mike let me do it while he took pictures. They give you a little cup of pellets and the giraffes pretty much do the rest. Shannon thought that they were pretty neat, and I think they were the only animal that she waved ‘bye bye’ too the whole day.


We wandered around and I was starting to get exhausted so we kind of fast tracked it through the rest of the section. The only other really cool exhibit was the polar bear. They have her in her enclosure, but you can see all through the water where she was hanging out. Shannon thought that that was pretty awesome, but the crush of people was a bit much, so I hung back while Mike fought to get her up close to the glass.

We finished out the day with a train ride that took you all through the park to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of the whole operation. Both Shannon and I were pretty beat by that point, but it was still nice to sit and watch everything. 🙂


All in all it was a great day, with great friends and great weather! We had a blast. I even wandered out to the barn tonight to visit everybody and meet a boarder’s super sweet new rescue mare, Lacey. She needs some TLC but I don’t think that she could have landed herself with better owners. 🙂

I’m home and ready for bed now, hope y’all have a great Sunday! I get to go pick up my Momma tomorrow at the airport and I can’t WAIT!


Pics from the weekend!

We had a pretty low key weekend around here. Two visits out to see Willow (!) and my first ever trip to Cracker Barrel… and a TON of rain. It was nice to have an excuse to be holed into the house most of the day on Saturday and all of Sunday afternoon. The rain also brought with it a break in the heat… finally. Finally! We opened all the windows last night and had to put an extra blanket on the bed. It was LOVELY to wake up to the fresh air this morning. It kind of, sort of, FINALLY feels like fall. The dogs are a little crazy though. 😉

I’m still pregnant, although Mike is still holding steady with his prediction that Charlotte will show up Thursday or Friday. My midwife will be on TDY (vacation) the week after that, and goodness knows now that I’ve found the wonderful woman, I want her there! Especially if Charlotte shows up before my mom can get here on Sunday and Mike has to stay home with Shannon. This pregnancy has been a rough one (I have a post on that, that I’ve been trying to bust out, but everything sounds kinda whiny) and I’m D.O.N.E. The amount of contractions that I’ve been having are not enough to admit me, but just enough to make life a PITA being home alone with Shannon all day (who, btw is still fighting naps and bed time… *sigh*). Ahh, the joys.

Anyways, how about some pictures from the weekend?


She loves bathtime…



Yes. This was 11PM on Saturday night…


We finally found and got to work washing *some* of Shannon’s newborn clothes… this is about 75% of the pile… Safe to say that Charlotte is all set.


That posted sign is normally about 6 feet tall… I think.


From the top of the driveway… yikes!


Bedtime stories


Watching for birds…


Interesting choice of clothes…

 I hope that y’all have a great Monday and hop on over to the #TeamWillow page for an awesome update!




Hey y’all! Did you have a good hump daaaaay? One of the perks of having a husband named Mike is that I can chase him around the house yelling “Mikemikemikemike!” He hates me sometimes. 😉

Things here are going well. I had a baby doctor appointment on Tuesday and my midwife has officially given me the “any day now!” thumbs up. I don’t think I’ve had somebody so excited over the state of my baby hammock (aka uterus) before. I’ll spare the details, because… well… It’s MY baby hammock, thanks very much.

The real reason for this post is that I wanted to let everybody know that Team Willow t-shirts are good to go! You can get yours at here.

How about some details? Shirts themselves are $20. I have a goal of selling 250 (lofty, I know…but I’m not afraid of a challenge) but need a minimum of 20 before they go to print. If you purchase one but I DON’T hit my minimum goal, your money will be refunded. If I exceed my goal of 250 sold, I’m going door to door and giving everybody highfives. Just kidding. If we can really knock this thing out of the ball park, any extra will be donated to a local rescue called TAS (Team American Saddlebreds).

After you place your order, please send me an e-mail at finallyforeverafter at gmail dot com (or a private message via the Facebook page) with your address. Shirts will be printed 2 weeks after the close date, and then bulk shipped to me. I’ll ship them from here. Tryin’ to keep costs as low as possible! After you check the page out, please share the bologna out of it!

Team Willow is taking off faster than I thought that it ever would, and I am planning on carrying that momentum into the future. Stay tuned for my plan. Yes. I have a plan.

I’ll have all this info on the #TeamWillow page if you need it for a reference. Please feel free to contact me with ANY questions! I love you all so much, and still can’t wrap my brain around all the support I’ve gotten in the past few weeks!

I’m off to go run up and down the stairs a few dozen times to try to convince this baby out.

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!!