Monday, August 22, 2011

Charlie comes home!

Charlie came home from the hospital this afternoon, to the great excitement of his brother and sister (both of whom are busily trying to "protect" him from the ministrations of the other sibling!)...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Charlie Is Born!

FINALLY today Charlie decides he wants to meet us! How exciting! I was at the beach when Erin called - having procured a fire ring for Messiah's Family Beach Party - but fortunately there was someone else there to hold the ring, and I zipped home and onto the freeway... In spite of her doctor's (and the specialist's) predicitons that the baby would be "about 7 1/2 lbs." he weighed in at 9 lbs. 1 oz (20 1/2 inches long) - and was born with only five pushes! We were all surprised at how chubby he is for a newborn! (When I stopped by to see the kids Alex told me, "Mommy has gone to get Charlie, and she's never coming back here again!" I think she'll have some adjustment!

Monday, August 15, 2011

August Birthdays

We gathered at Teresa's to celebrate August Birthdays (Trey, Marshall, and Coco - the OTHER August birthday has not yet had his Birth Day!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Last Day Festivities!

The day began with a breakfast ride/hay ride to a place they call "The Jail" where we feasted... Back for the rodeo - Coco was in the "egg-spoon" event, where she had to trot her horse balancing an egg on a spoon which she carried in her mouth. Then she participated in the "barrel races"... (I didn't participate, and she reprimanded me - "you can't win if you don't enter!" - but I'm a beginner, and the adult rodeo didn't have divisions - and I wasn't going to go up against the advanced - nor did I think I could herd cattle, which was one of the events!)
After lunch the wranglers helped us put our brand on the wall. Coco's design looked terrific!
We concluded the evening with a steak fry - and a birthday celebration for Coco! - as well as an awards event and slide show of the week's activities. It has certainly been a fun-filled week!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lost Valley Tradition!

One Lost Valley tradition is that each guest family design a brand to be put into the wall of the dining room in remembrance of their visit... Coco has spent all week thinking about our brand, and here is her sketch. Somehow we went from hearts, which had predominated her thinking, to a star (easier to draw?) which she filled with "S's" and "W's" for the names of our horses (Smokey and Woodrow). Saturday the cowboys will put our brand on the dining room wall...

Yet another tradition is the staff melodrama in the barn... Coco, in her newfound independence, was off sitting with the kids and we all boo-ed and hissed and cheered our way through a delightful melodrama, followed by an ice cream social.

The day say lots of riding for me... I went out both in the morning and in the afternoon, finally relaxing and enjoying the ride rather than white-knuckling my saddle horn! I did have a minor altercation with a tree branch when we were bush whacking our way down the side of a mountain, but other than that all was fine! Coco spent the afternoon tubing and at a kids pool party. (She took my camera, but was having too much fun to take any pictures!) Altogether a satisfactory day!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Coco's Grand Adventure!

Today was the day of the "all day ride" - after a scavenger hunt (which included such items as horse poop!) the kids saddled up to ride to a swimming hole, have a picnic, swim, and ride back... Coco packed her backpack with water shoes, horse treats - and, incidentally, her own lunch, and off they went! The water hole was great good fun (cold, but kids don't care!) but then suddenly the skies clouded over and the thunder and lightning began! They quickly packed up and rode home - arriving quite drenched, but full of the adventure!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family Ride: Day Three at Lost Valley Ranch

Coco and I went on the "Family RIde" - I wanted to take pictures of the scenery and of Coco, but I was holding on with both hands as we went up and down the sides of the mountain, through streams, over rocks, etc... Coco's horse did fall once - went down on his front knees - and Coco amazingly kept her saddle! (Had that been my horse I would probably have gone flying over his neck and landed on the ground breaking something!) The "kid supervisor" took the ride pictures for me... The evening consisted of "western entertainment" - lots of music, poetry reciting, story telling, etc. Old fashioned fun!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lost Valley Ranch II

Yesterday I attempted my first ride... as we made our way to the corral I quipped anxiously to Coco, "You'd better pray for me!" so she stopped right there on the trail, folded her hands, and said, "Dear God, please don't let my granny fall off her horse! Good-bye!" and we continued on our way. It must have worked, because I didn't fall off!

After the ride, we had a picnic lunch - and Coco greatly enjoyed throwing a big hunk of wood for one of the resident dogs to fetch from the stream (enjoyed, that is, until he got her all muddy!)... Our afternoon outing (tubing) was cancelled because of thundershowers, but last night we had a square dance. Even Coco agreed it was quite fun - but wouldn't participate because you had to dance with BOYS! (She and her new friend Alana looked on in disgust at the prospect!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lost Valley Ranch

Coco and I arrived at Lost Valley Ranch in the afternoon, and our first order of business (after checking out the porch swing in front of our cabin) was to get fitted for her saddle. It's a beautiful ranch west of Denver in the Rockies (at 8,000 feet we're a little winded even just walking to our cabin!)... There are 23 families here - 14 "repeats" (some on the third generation) and 9 new. I can see why - they have really organized things to make it "first class"! Coco was a bit overwhelmed at first, even wanting me to go on the children's ride with her ("But I don't even know how to ride!" I protested. "Shouldn't I take a lesson first?!" but she assured me that she could teach me!) They have a full time children's program here, and each group (Coco is in the 6 - 7 year old group, which has five children in it) has a full time "child supervisor" and wrangler who are very good at working with thekids.. They have been very good at weaning her away from me (although today I had to promise to be in the corral when she returns from her ride, but I think she'll soon let go of that requirement)... We did have a bit of trauma last night when she discovered a spider in thebedroom, but fortunately I had some bug spray and we made an bug free perimeter around her bed with insect repellant and she was happy! It's a beautiful ranch, with a nice pool, tennis courts, a playground, lots of green spaces, several corrals, and five dogs, all of which she wants to adopt! (She thinks they could live with me, and when I protest no room, no yard, no desire, they belong to the ranch, she has an answer for everything!)