Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I started this post back during Thanksgiving but didn't get around to finishing it. However, I think it's still the season to be thankful - isn't every season of our life supposed to be this way?. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessaloninans 5:16-18

So Ava was looking through her latest Young Rider magazine and found this ad in the back. She thought it sounded like a lot of fun:


I responded with an "Ahem! Doesn't that sort of describe your life on an everyday basis?!?" I mean we're not an "official" working horse farm but we do have horses and we do work! There is never a shortage of chores to be done around here!
But it got me many things (tangible or intangible) in my life do I have and either take for granted or don't even recognize? I have been convicted lately about enjoying life with my children instead of being so busy that I'm rushing right by them or spending entire days without really "talking" with them - can I hear an "Amen!"?? Certainly I'm not the only busy mother who feels this way (which by the way - I saw something on Pinterest or Facebook recently that said something to the effect of "I don't know why they call it 'stay-at-home-mom' because I'm never at home!")
So I thought I'd list some of the things I'm thankful for below, in no particular order:
1. My Haven
I call this my haven, for lack of a better word, because this is where I spend my most treasured time each morning. I get up usually around 4:30 (notice that those windows are DARK at this time of day) and here I spend a good 1 to 1 1/2 hours every morning for my quiet time (prayer, Bible reading, Bible study and maybe 5-10 minutes at the end for some Pinterest or Facebook time ;-) I have all my neccesities - iPad with Olive Tree installed, coffee, pen, paper, and candles. It is uninterrupted quiet time - no kids or distractions.
2. My Family
This gives you a sneak peek of what our Christmas cards will look like (that is, if I get them out in time, unlike last year). It was one of the last warm days before ICEMAGEDDON 2013 hit. I think of the 12385 pictures I snapped a few turned out ok ;-) Ava is now 11 (going on 18), Amelia is 6 and Audrey is 3. They are all full of life and keep us on our toes! One of my goals for the new year is to spend more quality time with them. That's such a cliche but I feel like I spend a lot of time with them doing busy stuff - not enough fun time or relaxing time. And of course Jason is included in my sentiments - he's just not in the picture!
3. Gorgeous sunrises
Okay, a little sappy perhaps but every morning when I see the sun coming up I am reminded of Lamentations 3:22 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
4. Jesus Christ and His sovereignty
While the ice storm that hit has delayed plans and caused some problems, my pastor was wise to remind us of God's sovereignty with this verse: Psalm 147:16-18 “He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes. He casts forth His ice as fragments; who can stand before His cold? He sends forth His word and melts them; He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.”
We were very fortunate that we did not lose power or have any pipes burst like last time such a strong cold front invaded North Texas in 2011. However, I am reminded that even if we did lose power or have other "terrible" or unexpected things happen that God is still sovereign, He is still in control, He has ordained every moment, circumstance and situation in my life and He is working it all for my good and His glory! How can I be anything but grateful and thankful for everything in my life (the perceived good and bad things) knowing that?
2 Corinthians 11:27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside

We are into our fourth day of temperatures hovering around 32 degrees. A monster cold front swept down Thursday night bringing rain, some sleet and ice but thankfully, no snow! It's also our fourth day of cloudy skies. It's starting to get a little bit depressing! Yet there is beauty to be found in the cold and somber scene:

Icicles cling to evergreen branches...

Icicles line all the gates and fencing up in the horse pastures...
It's a good day or a nap...hope you're staying warm wherever you may be!


Sunday, September 01, 2013

I've Found It

Okay.  I'm done.  I've found my dream stable/tack room.  I've submitted the following picture to Jason for his perusal and to base the new designs for my barn around this.


Everything about this space is perfect.  From the white walls to the pictures on the wall to the monochromatic color scheme.  We'd just have to expand it a bit to have at least 8 stalls.  With turnouts.  

But I'm sure Jason will be able to come up with something ;-)

Friday, August 30, 2013

First Day of School - 4 Days Late

I had meant to get this up sooner...but, well, you happens.  But at least I'm doing it now before the first week is over!


Amelia was very excited to start first grade....she was a little put off by the fact that Mrs. Featherston was not her teacher again...I think she thought she might have the same teacher her entire school career!  But she is settling in fine, despite her BFF, Gracie, not being in her class this year.  They do, after all, still get to see each other at lunch and PE.


Ava is starting fifth grade...10 going on 18...sigh...tween years have hit and we've only just started the double digits.  And with that comes all the drama and angst that I thought I wouldn't encounter for another few years.  Does that mean if we started early, it will end early?  

Nah, I didn't think so either.

Ava's BFF also was not in her class for the first time this year.  She's adjusting well though and was happy to have scored one of the iPad 4's that was handed out to the students.  She's thinking that in addition to ballet and horse back riding lessons that she will run for student council this year.


Should be a great 2013-2014 school year!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Midsummer's Night

Ava got it into her head that she wanted to sleep out in the barn by Tinkerbell, her horse.  I was a little skeptical and really not that enthused about it.  I mean there are spiders and snakes and dirt and all kinds of things that come out at night up there!  But, she caught me in the right mood and as soon as the word "ok" was out of my mouth, she was setting up her tent on top of a few stall mats in the main aisleway.


There are three little faces peeking out of that tent but only two had permission to stay up in the barn.  The third one was not happy about missing out on the fun with her sisters and may or may not have been bribed with an iPad to play with in bed that night...

I have to hand it to them...they picked a great night (low was 62 - in August people....I tell ya, we've had an awesome summer) but they stayed up there ALL.  NIGHT.  I thought they'd be back in the house with the first howl from a coyote in the pasture.

But they stuck it out.  This is what they looked like around midnight:


I must apologize for the grainy pictures.  I only took my iphone because like I said, I didn't expect them to stay up there - I thought it would be a short evening!  But they were playing away on their Nintendo games.  Jason said he went up there one time and heard Ava telling "scary" stories to Amelia.  They had their dream lights and flashlights and felt perfectly safe and were having a grand ol' time.  Ava was happy to report she checked on the horses at different times and caught various ones laying down to rest.  

And of course, our faithful family dog, Rosie, was nearby.  She spent most of the night laying down outside the barn, scanning the property for any intruder or predator that might approach the barn.  Ava said at one point a coyote started howling fairly close by and Rosie took off running and barking towards it.   It soon was quiet again ;-)  Good GIRL!!!


Around 8 am they came straggling back into the house.  They finally went to bed around 1:30 AM, according to Ava, and spent the rest of the day laying around the house, trying to recuperate from their late night. 

Now THAT'S what good summer memories are made of...

Until next time...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Trial By Fire

I have so much to catch up on!  But instead of trying to recap the last six months or so, I figure I'll just post as things happen and catch up a little here and there as I go...

One highlight of this summer was a beach trip we took to Destin, Florida a few weeks ago.  We definitely will be returning there soon - lots of fun!  Here's one picture to tease you with...


On the way home, Jason was getting tired and we realized its silly to have him do all the driving when there are two drivers in this family!  So, I had him slap the "Student Driver" sticker on the back of the motorhome and I drove this 45 foot bad boy for a few hours from south of Dallas all the way to Denton!


The only unexpected challenge was that after I got going, we realized a little too late that we were heading into Dallas traffic...and Dallas CONSTRUCTION!  Anyone reading this who lives in North Texas right now understands the mess that almost every freeway is in the metroplex at the moment as the state has decided to upgrade and reconfigure almost everything!  I am happy to report that we made it through unscathed!  Despite narrow lanes, many LARGE trucks passing in the next narrow lane, detours, heavy traffic, potholes and many orange cones and barrels scattered throughout the roadways!

We're taking another road trip soon and I plan to log some more watch out fellow drivers! ;-)

Until next time...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Magic's Prognosis

I've been trying to post this update for well over a week now! I sit down to type some out, get a few sentences written, and then something interrupts or my day gets going and this is put on the back burner! Ack! So, back to May 30th, Thursday afternoon, the day before I was scheduled to take Magic to get her x-rays...

I decided I should practice trailer loading her as last time we loaded, she did fairly well, but it had been a few years. With plenty of room to ride on my property and a vet, farrier, and trainer that come to me, there isn't much occasion to go anywhere. So, while Ava was taking her lesson, I pulled Magic out of the barn, opened up the trailer, and quickly discovered a wasp nest in the ceiling! Glad I checked before I was about to leave the next morning! I got rid of the nest and then proceeded to load Magic. And that's where it started to fall apart.

I was shocked to learn that apparently, Magic and Tommy have swapped brains at some point since our last trailer loading adventure. Magic did NOT want to get in that trailer! She would paw at the entrance, look inside, crane her neck as far forward as possible to sniff the grain in the feeder ahead, but did not want to get in. I did get in her a few times in the 20-30 minutes we were out there but all four legs were shaking like leaves on a Fall day. I didn't push it too much with her since all the in and out, trying, lifting to load, was most likely aggravating her injury. Normally, I would use techniques like making it her idea to load by working her whenever she was outside the trailer (circles, side passing around the trailer, etc.) and letting her rest whenever she would go inside the trailer. But again, all that work would only aggravate that injury. This is why it is best to practice trailer loading THROUGHOUT the year, my fellow horse lovers! While I didn't wait until 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave, waiting until the night before when she has an injury wasn't the best idea either!

I decided to keep the session short since she did get in for me a few times. We ended on a good note, then I put her back in her stall for the evening, not sure if she would load for me in the morning!

Bright and early the next morning, I took the girls to school and found these ominous guys waiting for me on my roof as I drove up the driveway...

These buzzards were just taking a load off, I'm sure, but I didn't like them staring me down as I drove up to the barn and started to get things ready to go! I spent a good hour getting things ready, turning other horses out, mucking stalls, etc. I called ahead to the imaging center to make sure they had an extra stall available; I decided I would take Aeriel along for comfort, support and encouragement for Magic to get in the trailer!

It was time to get ready! Aeriel jumped right in and loaded like a pro, standing still and waiting. Magic loaded easily enough (yay!) but turned around and wanted to come out right away. And quickly. And in a right-brained, sort of panicking sort of way. I let her do this for quite awhile - in, then turn around and come out right away, because at least she was getting in for me without hesitating! I sort of laughed to myself that my focus and worry had so quickly turned from getting answers about Magic's injury to just getting Magic in the trailer and would she load again when it was time to come home? The main anxiety inducing element of the trip was not what would the x-rays reveal, but would Magic load? Would she freak out in the trailer? Rear? Kick? Injure herself more? Would she load again? Would we be stuck at the imaging center overnight!?

Because I was now taking two horses, and not knowing what this place was like, I called my wonderful neighbor who luckily, was available to watch Audrey for me while I took the horses to the appointment! While Magic was getting in, I still hadn't been able to close the divider but I felt optimistic I would be successful getting her in. So I put her back in her stall, ran down to the house, finished getting ready, printed out directions to the facility, got Audrey situated in the house with my neighbor, then went up to the barn one last time. I prayed Magic would just load easily for me if I was supposed to go. We had about 5 minutes and if she didn't load within that time, I was going to cancel the appointment.

Lo and behold...she loaded! First time out of her stall, straight into the trailer and for the first time, she didn't even turn around and look behind her, but put her head out the window and nuzzled with Aeriel whose head was also out the window next to her! Hallelujiah!! I slowly closed the divider, tied up her lead rope, closed the trailer doors and waited a bit to see what Magic would do. She was whinnying and pawing a bit but no kicking or bucking. This behavior is what she exhibits at feeding time or when a buddy leaves the barn so I felt better knowing this was her "normal anxious" behavior. Without more hesitation, I was off! I wanted to snap a picture of them in the trailer but I just wanted to get GOING! So I did.

I allowed plenty of time to get to my destination (total drive time was about an hour) as we were going through major construction on the 114 (local peeps will know what a nightmare that is near the airport right now) and I was planning on going about 60 mph the entire way. The drive was uneventful and despite the distance, the directions were simple and direct. Thankfully, my goose neck trailer is super easy to drive and manuever. You barely feel like you're pulling anything!

We arrived about 20 min before our appointment and I was able to park quickly and easily. With a tech to help me, we unloaded the horses and put them in their stalls to unwind and get acclimated a bit before they took Magic away.

Here are Magic and Aeriel in their stalls. I thought it was kind of cute because while they knew Magic's name and had her stall labeled appropriately, I never told them Aeriel's name so this was how they labeled her stall:

They were late getting Magic in (but there was a lot going on - seemed they were having a specialist in equine ultrasound visiting so they were conducting a seminar with about 20-30 people there. They were also conducting classes on dental floating too. We got there right around lunch - a catered lunch of beef brisket, ribs, etc. YUMMY! They were kind enough to offer me some but my stomach was too wound up. I passed ;-)

So, anyhooo (I know this is turning into a novel...) they took Magic across the facility to the main exam room. Here she is standing in the "stocks". She looks drugged but she's not - just licking and chewing (a great sign of relaxing) after braving that roll up door in the background and loading into the confined space of the stocks. You'll also notice how she's standing with her back right leg sort of rotated to the outside. This has been her normal stance of late - but is not "normal" ;-)

They took vitals, a short history, and then the vet came in. They took her back out, trotted her around, did a few flexion tests (she was only showing up as grade 2 lameness). We discussed the areas of concern when there is a kick in the top of the hip, where they would shoot for xrays, then they sedated her and took her back for xrays! Normally they allow the owner in the room when they shoot, but because they needed lots of "juice" to shoot that deep into her tissue, I had to wait in the waiting room. I was praying they would be able to get a good shot because if not, they would have to do a bone scan or competely knock her out so they could lay her down on the xray plates!

After 20 minutes or so, the vet came back in and ushered me to his office to go over the xrays as they were able to get some good shots!! The news was good and bad. Bad news was that yes, she fractured the point of her hip. Here is what her hip should look like:


See how the outer edge is nice and smooth? Flat as it curves down?

This is how Magic's bone looks:

It's jagged, broken, rough. And yes, that little white triangle near the top? It's a bone chip. What we were afraid of.


So what is the good news? The good news is that the joint below this point, in between her hip and her hock (can't remember the technical name of the joint) looked fine. That joint can sometimes be a more critical junction and injury. The other good news is that stall rest is the treatment. No expensive procedures or treatments. Just rest. For 3-4 months. Sigh. I've been through a lengthy stall rest with Belle before. Twice. Good thing here is, Magic doesn't have to be attached to a zip line in a halter the whole time. She can move about her stall and connected run at will. The vet thought it was a great sign that she was moving so well at this point and that she had a great chance of full recovery. The only other little problem might be those bone chips. There is a chance they will need to be surgically removed. I'm hoping we don't get to that point!


Now that the xrays were over, we gave Magic some time to wake up from her sedation, then we loaded Aeriel back in, and thankfullly, feeling a little drunk still, Magic didn't put up much of a fight loading back in the trailer. And we were back on the road to home!


The ride home was also uneventful and both horses were glad to return to the barn! I felt like I had run a marathon when I got back. I was so happy things went smoothly and it was a big accomplishment for me to do this on my own considering a few months ago I had never even hauled my trailer before! But I knew it was time to put on my big girl panties and do this, despite my nerves. I do have ELEVEN horses at this point and I should know how to trailer on my own!! I do want to make it to some schooling shows this summer so this was good practice. I'll get a chance to repeat this adventure too since they want to repeat xrays in six to eight weeks ;-)


Monday, May 27, 2013

Update on Magic

Dr. Lampe came out on Wednesday and discussed some treatments we could do to help Magic heal. Then he saw her move in the round pen and said she absolutely needs to get it x-rayed. The concern now is that she might have fractured the hip or somewhere in the hip joint. There may be bone chips, etc. and the treatments involve procedures that might make that worse. Dr. Lampe wants to see exactly what is going on in there before we proceed. The complication is that this injury is potentially deep inside her hip - too deep for his portable x-ray machine. I need to take her to the Animal Imaging Center in Las Colinas. They have the most powerful x-ray machine in the metroplex and thus the best chance of getting a workable image. If that doesn't work, she will need a bone scan which is lots of $$!

Between my schedule and the Imaging Center's schedule, I couldn't get her in until this Friday, the 30th. In the meantime, she is in her stall, on 2 grams of Bute a day, and perhaps this extended rest period will allow her to heal properly and we can avoid the trip to the Imaging Center all together - which will be an adventure for me with Audrey along and driving the trailer about an hour away into city traffic and streets! At least Magic loads easily...still, say a prayer for me!

And on this relaxing Memorial Day, I will leave you with this cute baby bird we saw on our front porch. Looks like today is the day he learns to fly! He looked rather perturbed with this adventure. Momma was nearby, flittting in and out, cheeping at him constantly...too cute! (Sorry for the graininess - I took this through the leaded glass on our front door with my iphone, zoomed in.)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013


My fabulous vet, Dr. Lampe, is coming this morning to re-examine Magic, one of my OTTB (Off Track Thoroughbred). Several weeks ago, I found her and Tommy standing in the north pasture like this (Magic is the dappled grey):


I thought it a little strange. It was a glorious day and they weren't grazing - just standing. But still, the do take little naps from time to time. An hour later, I noticed that while Tommy had moved on, Magic was still standing in the same spot. I went out to investigate and discovered she did not want to move or put weight on her right hind leg. At all. I examined her - no swelling or obvious injury on her legs or body other than this seemingly innocent scrape on her right hip:

It took me quite awhile to get her out of the pasture and up to the barn. My vet came out and determined she had been kicked right on the point of the right hip. We were afraid of a break or fracture but it seemed, as the hours passed, that it was unlikely. Most likely, some soft tissue damage. Antibiotics, anti inflammatories on board and 2 weeks off were hopefully going to give her the time to heal.

So now we are almost a month (I think) from the injury and she's still not 100%. She looks mildly lame at walk and trot but when she canters, after a few strides, she runs 3-legged, holding that right rear leg up. I'm concerned that it's not healing. Hopefully today will reveal some reasons and a new path to full recovery!

It's frustrating because she was making such good progress under saddle! I was getting ready (hopefully by the end of the summer) to put her up for sale.

I'll try to post here when I have more news.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just Another Day?

When events like the Oklahoma tornadoes happen, I often think of the people (and in this case, children - I can barely type that as I think of my own children) who perished. Did they wake up thinking, "Okay, I have this and this planned for today. I have to get to work, take the dog to the vet, swing by the grocery store. And oh yes, there may be some severe weather this afternoon. Hopefully if we get hail, it won't damage the roof again.", etc.

Little did they know their life would be required of them that day.

I think about myself. Are those the same thoughts I'm having today? Will my life be required of me today?

If it is, I have the security of knowing where I am going when I die.

What about you? Do you know where you're going when you die?

"Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:5-6

"...let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead — by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

Have you repented and put your trust in Jesus Christ? If not, don't delay. Your life might be required of you today.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I'm in so much trouble...

...because I agreed to have two thoroughbreds brought to my barn for me to "try out".  And oh my.  I like them MUCH more than I thought I would.


This is Brego.  He is 3 years old.  Fresh off the track.  He's 17.2 hands.  And he's a love.  I'm in love.  And I haven't even tried him out under saddle yet.


He's gorgeous.  And flashy.  And I can't stop looking at him.  His registered name is Despicable.  But he's oh so not despicable.  


This is Willow.  She's 4 years old and after she was retired from the track, she spent a year hanging out in her vet's pasture.  She had a baby.  And now she's ready to get back to working.

She's 16.2 and it's difficult to get a good picture of her because as soon as she sees you, she's over in your face wanting to nuzzle.  She's a love too.


In fact, these two are arguably the best behaved horses in my barn.


I said I would try them out but if I was interested, I could only keep one.  Well, they're both so fabulous I'm keeping both.  I can't wait to see how they develop...

And I just have to add that this picture (found on Pinterest and here on the web), pretty much describes my husband.  It doesn't describe the horses (other than being OTTB) but it does my husband.  He didn't blink an eye and in fact, helped coordinate the opportunity to try these to out and eventually buy them.


He's the best.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Pinterest Preoccupation


I admit it.

I have become obsessed preoccupied with Pinterest.  I've been a member for over a year now, but it wasn't until the last few months I really started to get into it.  I think I didn't understand how to use it effectively before.  And I think now that more people are on it, it's much better (I mean what was the point of needing to be "invited" to join Pinterest in the beginning?  Were they trying to make it seem exclusive or an honor or something?)

I was never one of those people who would tear pages out of magazines and save them in an "inspiration book".  I never had a cork board full of pictures and quotes for inspiration.  But I do pin a lot of photos.  And I've found that many of the links have lead me to GREAT blogs that I now follow!  For example, take this great blog on organizing your life and home: Delightful Order.  She has a monthly challenge to help you organize one facet of your home.  January was organizing papers in your home.  As part of that theme, she recently posted this great system of organizing your warranties and manuals..  Another great thing about her blog is every week you can link up and share how you have organized something pertaining to the challenge for that week/month.  It's a great place to find other ideas and inspiration if her system doesn't seem like it will work perfectly for you.  She also has a good post on how to organize your child's important papers and from school related items.  She creates these fabulous binder and folder labels that she sometimes offers for free or is an inexpensive product you can buy on her Etsy shop.  I plan to do several of her projects.

Another great blog I found was The Small Things.  Kate is a hair dresser by trade so has tons of great tutorials on hair and makeup but also fashion.  So many of the blogs that deal with this subject are authored by young 20-somethings and while they can be good too, this is more my groove (because she seems a little bit closer in age to me or perhaps it's because I found out through a reference she made to The Popcorn Shop she visited growing up as a little girl, that she also grew up in Wheaton, IL! ;-)  Her YouTube channel is awesome.  I've already bought several of the hair products she has recommended and they've been fabulous!  

Another great one I've started following is Pink Pistachio (another fashion/lifestyle blog) and House of Rose (a great organizational/DIY decorating and renovations blog).  

I've found lots of other inspiration...from photography to fashion to all things equestrian and horse related to ideas for decor and projects or things to do with my kids.  If you're curious what I'm up to Pinterest, click here to see my boards and start following!

Until next time (and happy pinning!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Don't Judge...

...but I just got this out of my living room yesterday:


Notice that half of the ornaments are off?  Well, I had s l o w l y been working at it but I so despise putting up and taking down decorations.  I love them when they're up, it's just so much work!  I think I'm going to simplify my decorations next year.

When we took the tree out, we also rearranged the furniture and took out a chair so it feels much roomier in the living room now!  I LOVE it!  There's a few other things and knick knacks I want to get out of the living room and I think it will feel even better.  Oh that reminds me, I have a post I want to do about the kitchen table and island we re-painted.  Love how those turned out!  I have some future plans for our office as well...

But I back to the topic of airing my dirty's another issue I've let go on far too long...


What can I say?  She came to us used to a nightly and morning bottle of milk.  We bought this bottle in China and she loves it.  It brings her such comfort (along with that pink blanket, (or "ganget" as she says) that I just haven't been able to make myself wean her from it.  None of my other girls had a bottle this long.  Sigh.  I hope she doesn't have bucky teeth because of it!

However, I have to say, we have bitten the bullet and started potty training and she is doing EXCEPTIONALLY well!  After five or six days of this, she has only had a few accidents.  She is doing so well and I'm happy to see she can be continent and I have high hopes that she will be out of diapers soon!

With the nice weather, we've been outside and up at the barn more this week.  Amelia really wanted to ride her horse, Butters, the other day.  So we pulled out the tack and took a little spin.  She had a blast.  


And when someone else saw her older sister having a blast, she decided to try it too!!


This was her first ride ever by herself and what a milestone!  If you had seen this girl and how absolutely terrified she was of our horses, cats and dog when she first got home, you would understand how wonderful this is!  

And what was more surprising, is that when I went to squeeze in an extra ride on my horses a few days later...well, Audrey decided she wanted a ride then too!


She looks like such a little peanut up there!  I was surprised she wanted to ride Magic because obviously, Magic is much bigger than Butters!  But Audrey didn't seem to notice.  Hopefully with the warm and dry weather predicted (unfortunately, we still need more rain) I'll get some more riding in this week.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Well I had hoped to make at least a post a week but time has once again gotten away from me. I'm starting to add back in some activities we had dropped since returning home with Audrey (like the wonderful women's Bible study Wednesday mornings at my church.). I have missed that so much. The discipline of studying the word of God, in an inductive study, and having the accountability and fellowship of these other women is such a gift and blessing to me. So that has added another aspect to my week, albeit an important one, that has challenged me to keep up with my other daily chores so that it is not a hinderance.

Pinterest has also become a fun, although completely unproductive, time waster for me! To be fair, I have to admit I've found some great recipes, organizational tips, and some great outfits ;-) on there! I usually indulge in Pinterest once a day, after I've put Audrey down for the night and I'm sitting outside her bedroom door, waiting to hear her quiet down before I go back downstairs. I have to do something while I'm sitting there or I would go mad! But Pinterest is great for inspiration and I've definitely found it there!

I'm also back on the bandwagon to lose those stubborn 10-15 pounds that have eluded me since I shed my post pregnancy weight 10 years ago. So I'm up at 5:00 to workout, do my bible study, then hopefully get the girls up around 6:15-6:30 for school. Man. It's hard to get up that early. Especially after we've been sleeping in and staying up late from Christmas break! Can I hear an "amen"?! This is now my mantra:

I'm still behind in a gazillion things but I'm trying to loose my perfectionist attitude toward some areas of my life and just keep on moving! I'm afraid if I don't start adding these things in I want to get done, they will never be done!

Next up? (Besides getting my Christmas cards and Audrey's announcements out?) Getting my horses back in shape on a regular riding schedule. Doing something with at least 2 of them each day, even if its just grooming them in their stalls on the cold, windy days (like today - high was only 37 degrees!) I have a feeling I'll be consulting the following guide when I do ride - you play with and ride the horse that shows up and I have a feeling I'll need to remind myself of how to adjust myself and methods in order to have a successful ride!

"The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9


Tuesday, January 08, 2013

What We've Been Up To...

Well, I certainly thought I'd be jumping back into the swing of things faster than I have.  I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get back into my schedule?  If it's adjusting to a third child or the fact that as soon as we came home it was Ava and Amelia starting school, and ballet classes, and Awana, etc.?  It was a lot to jump back into just a few days after we returned home!

Regardless, there I days I feel I'm hanging in there okay, and other days I feel completely overwhelmed!  I have a friend (you know who you are ;-) who thinks I'm supermom!  She can't fathom how I get all the things done in my day that I do.  Honestly though, this is how I feel most days:

Each day gets a little bit better and now that I don't have to sit in the room with Audrey anymore while she falls asleep, I have freed up an extra 2 hours in my day!  It's been a slow progression, but we started off sleeping in the same bed (in China).  Once we were home, she was sleeping in her toddler bed and I was on a twin mattress on the floor next to her.  After a month or so of that, I moved to sitting in a chair in her room and now, I close the door almost all the way and sit on the floor outside her room.  She can't see me, but if she cries out or gets up, I'm right there to talk to her.  But most of the time, I only sit there about 10-15 minutes and then go downstairs.

The other thing that very recently has gotten better is how many times a night she wakes up.  She used to wake up several times a night and cry when she realized I wasn't there.  I had a monitor in her room so I'd wake up from my bed and go up and usually spend the rest of the night in her room.  We have slowly moved to me just putting her right back to bed and sitting there for a few minutes until she fell back to sleep, to now I walk right back out and go back to my bed!  And now, I'd say she only wakes up one time maybe 3 nights out of the week.  

The other activity that has been taking up so much of our time is the numerous doctors' appointments Audrey has been to.  We've seen our pediatrician, pediatric neurosurgeon, pediatric urologist, physical therapists, the Spina Bifida clinic at Scottish Rite and now hopefully, we'll be seeing the Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at Scottish Rite in March.  Except for the pediatrician and the physical therapist (who comes to our house) all those other appointments have been in Dallas!  So one appointment is an all day affair.

Audrey has had numerous vaccinations, blood tests, an MRI of her spine, a VCUG to check for bladder problems, ultrasounds, x-rays and multiple physical exams.  And I am very thankful for our medical insurance!

What does all this mean?  Well, Audrey has a more complicated form of spina bifida and will most certainly need surgery at some point in the future to address the issues in her back.  But for right now, we are waiting.  Why wait?  Because Audrey is doing fabulous!  And there are no guarantees that surgery at this point would help her walk any better than she does now.  While she was pretty much potty trained in China, she has regressed since coming home (which is normal and expected).  I'm trying to find a few weeks or even a long weekend that we will be home where I can get her out of diapers again.  I'm not sure she's ready but it will confirm to reveal if she has any bladder issues.  


Audrey is definitely a ham.  She's outgoing, gregarious and has the best personality!  I know!  I am just as surprised that I am typing that as you are to read it, based on what our experiences were in China.  She has ingratiated herself so deeply and quickly into our hearts since we have returned home that I've regretted some of the things I wrote.  I would hate for her to read them someday.  So, I'll shield her from that for awhile, but I've decided to let my comments stand as they were honestly what we were feeling and going through and I want other adoptive parents who haven't traveled yet or been through this experience know and understand what it can be like. 

Not everyone has a happy ending - I know several families that continue to have bonding, attachment and discipline problems now that they are home.  However, ours is turning out much better than we expected.  We thought it would be a rough transition but she has acclimated well to our life and home.  


And not that I was worried, but oh my, this girl LOVES her sisters!  And they love her right back.  She copies everything they do and say, what they wear, what they eat...everything!  She understands they go to school during the day, but she usually asks me where they are, mostly for her own confirmation, I think.  And when she spies them from the carpool line waiting for the doors to the school, it's like a rock star was walking out.  Oh the screaming and excited yells at their sight!


Her English improves daily as well.  I knew shortly after returning home that she could understand probably 90% of what I was saying to her but now she picks up new words and phrases every day.  Her favorite things to say are, "What are you doing?" "Where are we going?" "Where's Ava?" "Where's Amelia?" "What is that?" (while pointing to something).  She also said today, very plainly, "My foot fell down!" when her boot slipped off her foot while I was carrying her out to the arena.

Speaking of the arena and the barn and the animals...well, let's just say THAT transition was a little more bumpy!  Her reaction to our docile, loving animals was one of sheer terror!  Like someone was ripping her arm off!  It made doing barn chores very difficult.  But slowly she has come around...


She likes to help me with chores now (in the picture above she was combing Aeriel's nose ;-) but on cold days she is fine to stay in the house with her sisters.  

So we've been up to mundane, yet very good things over the last few months...though I'm still trying to get caught up on laundry, balancing the checkbook, and I still need to get my Christmas cards out!  


Until next time (which hopefully will be sooner than later!)....

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Goodbye 2012 - Hello 2013

Wow.  It's like a ghost town around here!  I know!  Adjusting to life with a third child (who is 2 years old) has seemed to throw me for quite a loop!  I do have an update post I'm working on but I wanted to be sure and do a post within the first few days of 2013.

And this devotional I read from Charles Spurgeon this morning seemed so much of what I want to focus on this year...(if you're friends with me on Facebook, I posted some of this already today...)

"Continue steadfastly in prayer."  Colossians 4:2

It is interesting to consider how large a portion of the Bible is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises.  We scarcely open the Bible before we read, "People began to call upon the name of the LORD;" and just as we are about to close the volume, the "Amen" of an earnest supplication meets our ear.  Instances are plentiful.  Here we find a wrestling Jacob - there a Daniel who prayed three times a day - and a David who with all his heart called upon his God.  On the mountain we see Elijah; in the dungeon Paul and Silas.  We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises.  What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer?

We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives.

If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it.  So deep are our necessities that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray.

Do you need nothing?  Then I fear you do not know your poverty.

Have you no mercy to ask of God?  Then may the Lord's mercy show you your misery!

A prayerless soul is a Christless soul.  Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus.  

It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian.

If you are a child of God, you will seek your Father's face and live in your Father's love.  Pray that this year you may be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter more often into the banqueting-house of His love.  Pray that you may be an example and a blessing to others, and that you may live more to the glory of your Master.  

The motto for this year must be, " prayer."

- Taken from Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional - Charles Spurgeon

And what more can I say to that except AMEN!  And AMEN again!

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