Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Making Memories

Recently my mom and I took a road trip to Northern Virginia.  My parents lived there for a good number of years, so it was old stomping ground in a way (although the population is ever-expanding so many things look completely different).

Mom and I had never done a trip like this, and we had a wonderful time.  We ate marvelous foods - like this lemon meringue cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory:

We did a lot of shopping.  Mostly at Potomac Mills Mall.  Plus REI and Dover Saddlery for me (neither of which we have where we live) and J. Jill and Comfort Shoes for my mom.  We also ventured into a Savers thrift store - I've heard about them but we don't have one locally.  It was HUGE - wish I'd known how to take a panoramic picture because this place was bigger than a Walmart.

We tried out a Duck Donuts for the first time.  The coffee there was fabulous and so were the donuts.  We kept talking about how messy they were (they're served warm and gooey).  On our way out, Mom noticed that you are supposed to eat them with a fork.  We felt a little like uncivilized heathens then.

We were exhausted in this picture taken at PF Changs, but went back after dinner and treated our tired feet to a soak in the hot tub in the hotel. 

On the way home, we took at side trip through Charlottesville, where my youngest brother, John, gave us a tour of his neurobiology lab at UVA.  He's in a PhD program there.  I adore neuroscience anyhow, so I loved seeing his lab and learning about the fish that he uses for his experiments.  Look how happy he is - I think he truly loves what he does!

It was a whirlwind weekend, but we made many memories.  The best part - better than the shopping or the splendid food or the hot tub - was just spending some quality time with my mom.  I'm so thankful we got the chance to catch up and enjoy time together. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Trick or Turkey

Well, it's the day before Thanksgiving, and here I am just now posting about Halloween.  We end up driving to a neighborhood every year to trick or treat, as there is nothing in our rural area.  The neighborhood we go to is always overflowing with people like us, who drive in from the countryside.  The residents love Halloween and go all out with decorations.  They humor all us outsiders and are welcoming.  It's always one big party.  There's one house that even creates a haunted house in their garage each year.  It's a favorite of the boys.  They also love this 'working' electric chair:

This year Reid was an Oompa Loompa, Cort was Willy Wonka, and Pierce was an airline pilot.  I was so happy I didn't have to work this year, and got to take them trick or treating.
Now, I'm finally done with Halloween - is it time to move on to turkey?  Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving!  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Francie Has Fun

Francie and I seem to have hit a sweet spot where our rides are more fun and relaxed.  She's a forward moving horse that wants to please.  She can still be a little hot at times, but she is starting to mellow a little.

I ordered a new saddle pad with a couple of roomy pockets, in case we find ourselves trail riding in the future.  I can easily tuck in a hoof pick, a cell phone, and a snack.

A couple of weeks ago, Paul made a cyclocross course in the riding arena.  The boys had a blast riding this bike maze.  I wanted to ride Francie, but didn't know what she'd think.  At first, she thought it was pretty awful.  She snorted as though the red tape was going to attack her.  I hand walked her through.  She calmed down.  Then I hand walked her through a second time, rattling the tape as we went.  She was spooky at the moving, rattling tape at first, but then calmed down again.  After that, I hopped on her.

We walked through and then we trotted.  Then she started having fun.  She was enjoying whipping around the 180 degree corners! 
By the end, she was cantering the long stretches, trying to catch the boys on their bikes.  I had no idea she would have so much fun with this.  Reminded me of my youth, flying around tight jumper courses on ponies, but without the jumps.  Here we are after, exhilarated from our playful ride.

She still has those funny curled ears, but look - she's got one ear on Pierce, who took the picture, but one ear on me.  We're really feeling connected lately.  I'm looking forward to more fun fall rides. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pierce Turns 11

I started blogging when Pierce was 3.  Two weeks ago, he turned 11!  We had some family come to celebrate and it just happened to be on the actual birthday of my aunt, Pam.

I didn't have time to do a cake that week.  So I took Pierce to Sam's to pick something out.  We were flipping through the cake book and Pierce complained, "Mom, I'm TOO old for decorated cakes!".  So I told him that it was Pam's birthday too, and that she liked decorated cakes.  So he picked out a cake for Pam.  All with an air of "I'm just humoring my great aunt, but I am much too old for decorated cakes". 

A couple of summers ago we went to see The Secret Life of Pets with Pam and George, so Pierce picked that out as her theme.  Plus, Pam is an avid dog-lover.  Pierce then chose the most boyish frosting colors he could find.

He sure didn't complain any when he was gobbling up those teal blue frosted flowers!  Thank goodness we had Pam around to thank for our cake this year.  A birthday without any cake sure would be a sad affair.  I'm guessing this whole incident officially puts Pierce into that "tween" category. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall Hit Snooze

Fall was late this year.  I took this picture one morning in mid October.  It was the very first morning it felt crisp enough to be fall, following a week of miserable heat and humidity.

The leaves were reluctant to turn because of the heat.  So the break in the weather was quite welcome.  Now, finally, the boys could wear those long sleeved Halloween shirts.

I hope this is a sign it will be a mild winter.