Friday, July 29, 2011

The New Toy in Town

We've been thinking about getting a 4-wheeler for several years now, but have been holding out for a really good deal. And a KILLER deal just sort of fell in our lap the other day and we couldn't pass it up. It's was really meant to be a toy for Marty, but I have to admit, I've driven it a lot more than he has this week. And my mom-cool factor has gone through the roof since I drive fast over the whoop-dee-doo part of the trail with the kids on back.

I taught Jaxon how to drive it last night, but he wasn't around for this little impromptu photoshoot tonight. We'll have to catch him another time - in action.

But for now....

Luke wants to drive it so badly he can't stand it. I don't know if his legs are quite long enough yet, but if will counts for anything, he will find a way.

In the meantime, he just spends a lot of time sitting on it. And this morning, he told me had a sudden urge to go visit Bo, one of our horses who lives a couple of blocks away. I've been driving the 4-wheeler over there all week to feed, and, coincidentally, after sitting on the 4-wheeler all morning, Luke REALLY needed to see Bo. Interesting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Luke's Baptism

Another thing that's happened since I got behind on my blogging is Luke's baptism. He was really excited to be baptized, and I couldn't believe my baby was already 8 years old.

I complained a while back that Luke was hard to take pictures of, but when I took him out for a commemorative photo shoot, I finally figured out the secret. I've tried telling him jokes --- no luck. But when I asked him to tell ME jokes, then I got amazing stuff out of him. BINGO!

How stinkin' cute is that kid? I'm tellin' ya. He's killin' me, Smalls. That' little suit and "future missionary" pin were Jaxon's from when he was baptized. The tie is new, hip, happenin'. 

This was probably the best shoot I've had with him in ages, there were a dozen cute, natural shots. Yay.

Anyway, one of the nicest things about Luke's baptism was that my mom was able to be here for it. She even went out to California the week before for my sister's little boy's baptism - he was born 2 days before Luke. Those are the kinds of things she's able to do now that Dad's gone. We were so glad to have her here and she gave a talk about the Holy Ghost.

Our good friend Molly came along to the baptism and took pictures, which was a big load off me. We had some great friends who came, and Jenna especially, helped out.

Our kids are so lucky to have such a great dad. He's such a great example to them.

It was a wonderful day, and we're really proud of our boy for choosing to be baptized.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Our New Bishop

There has been so much happening that last few months and we've been so stinkin' busy that I haven't had time to blog about hardly any of it. I've been starting to feel a little panicky that I've gotten so behind. I print my blog every year and it's my own family history - I can't tell you how many times I've referred back to my blog to check a date or help me with my Christmas letter. So I need to catch up a bit today. One of the BIGGEST things that happened to our family since the birth of our last baby, happened on Easter Sunday this year. (That's how behind I am.)

The big news: Marty was called to be the bishop of our ward.  For anyone out there who isn't familiar with what that means, in our church, the ward is our local congregation and the bishop is like the pastor, or leader of that congregation. We have non-paid clergy in our church, so we all serve in our wards to keep things running along and to share the load. But the bishop is the go-to guy for sure. In other words, nobody in their right mind would ever want the job. But we're trying to have a good attitude about it, I'm sure there's a reason he's there. And I'm proud of him. He's a good man - he's a hard worker and has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, which is a great quality in a bishop. And I know he's going to learn A LOT and have a lot of growing pains along the way.

One of the cool things that he's able to do as a bishop is perform marriages. He got to do his first one last Saturday. It was someone we didn't know, they were visitors to our area. He had to get special permission to marry them because the weren't in our ward.

I've photographed some weddings over the last year or so that were performed by bishops who, well... didn't do such a great job, in my opinion. So I took Marty aside the night before the wedding and asked him what he was planning to say. He wasn't too nervous about it, I was kinda nervous for him and wanted him to do a good job. I shouldn't have worried - he totally nailed it. He gave great advice, but kept it short. He was warm but didn't make stupid jokes. He was articulate and confident. And he looked great while he was doing it. :o)

He wore one of my dad's nice ties.

Another kind of cool thing about being at that wedding, I met a relative. The couple was actually from New Mexico and their branch president and his wife came up for the wedding. As we got visiting with them, we realized that he was from the same hometown as my mom's family and turned out to be a distant relative of ours. They were lovely people and he gave me a big "cousin kiss" on the cheek when we said goodbye. This is them with the newlyweds.

Whew, I'm glad to have blogged about that, I feel a lot better now. I can move on and try to get caught up on a couple more posts while it's Sunday and I'm not working.

Wish us luck with this bishop thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I've actually been back from Parelliland for over 2 weeks now, but I still keep thinking how nice it is to be home. I had such an amazing experience at my horsemanship course in CO. I learned so, SO much and enjoyed - almost - every minute of it, but HOME..... there's just no place like it.

My home isn't big or fancy, but it"s comfortable and functional. It has all my own stuff in all the right places and - really important - a fantastic shower. And of course, it has the people who are most important to me.

But here are a few photo highlights from my stay in the MECCA OF HORSEMANSHIP. (I heard that in my head with an echo...echo...echo.)

This is our class on the last day. It was such a great group - from all reports, the best group EVER - and I was pretty sad to leave them all. Our lead instructor, Ryan Rose, is on the bottom on the right. Our other three coaches: Jeanne and Luce on the outside corners on the back row and Dancin' Pete on the bottom left.

Dancin' Pete always lives up to his name. There was usually music playing in the background when we weren't in a lesson. In these pictures we were waiting for something to start when "I Love Rock 'n Roll" came on and Pete led an impromptu conga line around the lodge classroom. What a fun group!

The Ranch is a beautiful place - green and peaceful and at the top of it's own little canyon facing Pagosa Peak. Every time I walked up the hill on my way home in the evening I stopped every so often to take a photo in my mind, and a couple with my little point-and-shoot. It's not just beautiful, it's special - there's just an amazing feeling there.

This is Pat's Personal Playground and HIS personal ropes. :)

A little cool and unexpected bonus at the ranch - the wildlife, especially the chipmunks. They were so cheeky and funny and bold. They turned over our glasses of juice and walked under our horse's feet. They even ran into my roommate Holly's leg one time. They had the run of the place, with their own subway system of drainage pipes.

 Here's Pam from my class, communing with a Parelli chipmunk.

One of the coolest things about the whole experience, was meeting so many new Parelli friends. We spent all day every day together and then went out a couple of times in the evening as well. They were all SO GREAT. They were from all over the world: lovely Linda from England (who reminds me of my friend Stephanie), Lisa from New Zealand (who has truffle hunting dogs at home), Mary from New York (a 30 year veteran of the NYCFD paramedics and a 9-11 survivor), and Aurelie from Belgium - only 19 years old. Also Pattie (who lives in Pagosa and is now going to adopt a donkey from BF), Bonnie and Pam from Utah, marvelous Margaux (who is going to be a vet), Jo (my amazing roomie who has only had horses 5 years and already passed her Level 4), sweet Phyllis from Reno, and my funny and driven and super-smart roommate Holly. There was also Wendy (with the cutest, half Morgan pony) from the East Coast, Bill and Doni (married couple who were 77 and 68 and very cool, accomplished people) and Wendy P (who was a great carrot stick thrower) and Katrin from Germany (who was so brave to come to America by herself and lease a strange horse and struggle with the language), and Mary Anna (who was super fun and told me that she loves Mormons).


Another cool thing about the town of Pagosa Springs is the hot springs the town is named for. The accepted definition for Pagosa is "healing waters", and there is a resort there on the banks of the San Juan river where you can go and enjoy the spring water. There are at least a dozen different pools at different levels on the hillside where you can soak 'till your heart's content. The pools are different temperatures and you can even walk down some steps and dip in the river if you'd like. I got to go there twice - once with my two cool rommies, Jo and Holly, and once on local's night with a bunch of the Parelli externs. So fun! I came away from there feeling boneless and smelling a little like eggs.

This is a view of the springs resort from a restaurant balcony across the river where the girls and I had dinner one night. Such a pretty place.

I have so much to share about what I learned and the people I met. Hopefully one of these days I can get the chance to write more about it. It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to go back next year. Parelli ROCKS.