Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cowgirls

As a birthday present, Michael got me a horseback riding lesson with June. We were both so excited about it, but June was in particular because horses have been her thing lately. She was just in love with horses and the idea of riding horses. Because of this, I was a little anxious that something bad might happen and ruin one of her favorite things! (To put you at ease: nothing bad happened.)

We got ready in our cowboy gear. The matching wasn't intentional, but my only pearl snap shirt was pink and her new cowboy boots were pink, so we were a little pair that day.


June rode a little old horse named Shasta. Shasta is one of those old, happy horses who is happy to just pad around slowly. 


We had an instructor named Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was serious business, especially at the beginning. She was fighting a losing battle trying to get June to focus through some of the early tasks since June was in sensory overload trying to see, hear and smell everything. But I think after a while she realized that I wasn't very concerned about it really being a 'lesson' and that we were happy just to have a horse riding experience. By the end of it, she was taking pictures for us and bending some rules so June could ride my horse back to the ring.



We led our horses to the ring so we could prep them for the ride. This included brushing them and putting the saddles and bridles on.



Shasta:


My horse was Ford, who June and I mistakenly called "Forward" for most of the day. By the time I realized his real name, it was so ingrained in June so she kept calling him Forward the whole time. Ford/Forward was also a great horse, but a little bit more of a leader. It worked out well because June did not need to be riding a stallion on her first try, but she did notice that my horse was usually the leader and hers was the follower. I tried to give her a chance to pass me a couple of times so she could go in front, but Shasta was basically, 'no, I'm cool.'


When we first went out to get Ford/Forward from the field, he was hanging out with 5 of his friends. They looked so pleasant from afar, but as we walked up, it was quite intimidating to have 6 large, curious horses surround you and put their faces in yours. Even I got a little uneasy, so I can't imagine what June was thinking. She tried slinking behind me but another horse or two were already right there. Next to her little body these horse heads looked massive. This was like the first thing we did, so I was worried it would freak her out for the rest of the day. But as soon as we grabbed Ford/Forward, she really wanted to help lead him and didn't seem disturbed in the least.


She was so good, seriously. She looked so proud, and so old to be big enough to do this on her own!


Most of our lesson was spent circling the arena. We worked on turning the horses, starting and stopping, swerving in between cones. We played Red Light, Green Light and Simon Says. We even trotted for a little bit! (June said it was 'bouncy' to trot.)




Then June asked if she could ride Forward for a little bit, and although the saddle wasn't set up for her, Kaitlyn let June ride him. She was really proud to be on the big horse. Kaitlyn even let June ride Ford/Forward back to the ring, and lead him for a little. June looked so small next to him! 




Afterward, June bent down to try to dust off her new, beloved boots. Kaitlyn and I told her to leave them as-is because the dust was a badge of honor, proof that she was a true cowgirl. She left them as-is until we got home and her friend was on her way over. Honor and proof are all well and good until she has a friend to show off her boots to.


Then we gave the horses a treat and brushed them down again. 



I do think June might have been a little disappointed that she wasn't galloping through wild fields by the end of the lesson. (Her vision also probably included wearing a ballgown at the time, but this was not actually expressed.) I told her that she'd get to go faster as she learned more, and that we just need to keep practicing. 

I loved it. I loved experiencing it through June's eyes, and seeing the look on her face when she was doing such grown-up things. Maybe one day June and I will take a trail ride (like I did with my mom!) and we'll be able to look back on this lesson and smile about how little she was.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bennett's First Year Video

I'm only a month and a day late posting the video I made of Bennett's first year - that's a new record for me! If you want to take a peek, here it is:

Bennett's First Year video

Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pi Day at the River

So Sacramento is seated right where two rivers come together. I like to think of it like River Run, for you Song of Ice and Fire fans. And there are plenty of activities to do on the rivers and also lots of spots where you can get to a 'beach' to spend some time. 

We had never gone to a river beach before, so I invited some friends to meet us there.

We definitely had differing states of preparedness. I think I was picturing just standing around on shore, throwing rocks in the water, eating snacks. Our friends showed up in bathing suits with beach toys and towels. Sure enough, the kids were diving in the river as soon as we arrived!


I can't post anymore pictures of June past this because we ended up just letting her splash around in her underwear! We learned our lesson and will certainly be in swimsuits next time. 


I could not believe how enthusiastic Bennett was about the whole thing. I thought he might be a little hesitant but he was charging right into the water, which was not exactly a hot tub.


And of course he was all about playing in the sort of muddy sand on the shore.



Afterward we had these friends and another family over for dinner. (The other family couldn't make it to the river because their poor daughter has her arm in a cast.)

This was on 3/14/15, which as you probably were aware, is considered "Pi Day." This was an extra special pie day because of the extra "15" due to those being the next numbers after 3.14 in pi.

So to celebrate, June and I made a strawberry pie with some berries we bought at the farmer's market that day. Actually, June and I made the crust, then I finished her off while the kids napped and I wondered if I could get away with just eating the whole pie.


It was a really nice, full, exhausting and pie-filled Saturday. Loved every minute.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dressing Up for Daycare

Last Friday was Pajama Day at daycare. June insisted on wearing her fleece Frozen pajamas even though the afternoons are too warm for fleece these days. 


Bennett is so mobile these days that it's hard to get him to pose for a picture. I was basically following them around the house waiting for them to be still. June sensed what I was up to and tried to force Bennett into a hug.


I love his little space pajamas!


Then they also got to dress up for St. Patrick's Day! 

This was another case of trying to chase the kids down to get a picture, and another case of a forced hug.


When my in-laws were in town, they left some little presents for the kids to wear on St. Patrick's day, so June got to go to school with her cool necklace on! (The hat/headband didn't make it to school, but we did wear it around the house.)


Bennett had this hilarious little onesie that looked like a little suit and bowtie. 


I finally followed the kids into the bathroom and managed to take this awesome shot:


They are so cute!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Around Here Lately

Bennett getting into mischief:


June's first real dental cleaning:


When I was pregnant with June, I quickly found out that my boss was growing a watermelon in her garden that was the exact same size as my baby. It was funny, we'd compare sizes as the weeks went on and it usually matched up pretty well. (We also decided we were going to ceremoniously eat the watermelon once the baby was born, but it didn't happen sadly.) When I was pregnant with Bennett, she just happened to have a pumpkin growing at about the same rate, so that became our new joke. When I moved from Arizona to California, her parting gift to me was a pair of costumes that would fit each kid representing their corresponding melon/gourd. Well, the kids finally fit those costumes, which called for a fashion show and sending pictures back to my friend.



A Girl's Night Out for drinks and painting:


The hilarious results of a photo shoot at school. (I say hilarious not because June isn't ADORABLE, she obviously is. I just think it's so funny how they dressed the kids up in this little outfit. I have never seen this little jean jacket, necklace and headband in my life, so I knew they must be props. Sure enough, another mom came in to check out her daughter's pictures at the same time and, yep, her daughter had this same outfit on.)




Introducing cow's milk, and introducing sip cups:


And some lovely roses Michael bought me for my birthday:


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Full Sunday

Just saw this post sitting in my drafts folder! I was written about the Sunday before last.

We had a jam-packed Sunday.

First it was a Girls' Morning Out at Fairy Tale Town. June, Judy and I met June's friend Sage and her mom Deanna. It was such a nice day, so relaxing and the girls had a really great time. Sage is such a sweet friend to June and we loved watching them play together. 



That afternoon we went to a Kings basketball game! It was June's first game in a year and Bennett's first game ever!




We tried having Bennett wear protective headphones but he only tolerated them for a few minutes before he was pulling them off.







Bennett was a little wiggly, but we held him off with snacks. (We took the same approach with June. I had hoped that she was old enough to just enjoy watching the game but...not yet.) We stayed until halftime and then left, heading out to go to dinner.