Day of Rest?

Ok, so anyone who has kids knows that the whole "Sunday is a day of rest" mantra is junk. It's no different than any other day except you schedule church instead of parties and you eat at home rather than running to the local fast food joint because you're so dang sick of cooking. If you're the chef, you day is definitely full of responsibilities. If you have a calling, you're not off the hook either - teaching, playing piano, attending meetings before and after church, trying to make it down the hallway avoiding eye contact with all you pass hoping no one will say "Siiister Riiiiddddlle" before you can make it out the door. Since that pretty much encompasses everyone actively involved with church, Sunday is really a day of labor, with the Lord in mind.

We do try to be as lazy as possible, but our efforts are usually thwarted by Lexi's energy level. We don't usually do much work (you know, other than planning and staggering morning showers, making breakfast, getting Lexi ready, packing the diaper bag, going in and out of sacrament so many times it counts as a cardio workout, shlepping 3 bags that weigh about 10 lbs. each to, all around, and from church, trying to keep Lexi up for the drive home, getting her down once we get home, getting her back out 1/2 hour later because she has woken up, getting the meat out for dinner, marinading said meat, setting the table, playing with Lexi, cooking dinner, eating dinner while wrangling the ever messy 2 year old, doing dishes, bathing Lexi, and finally, putting her down), but we do tinker a bit and wrap up the easier parts of the big projects we may have tackled earlier in the weekend. For us, that was raking the playground area and laying out the plastic wrap. All in all, it took about 10 minutes of time. Now, we'll spend tomorrow putting together the monstrosity.

Oops...I lied. As I write this, I hear the rototiller going. Guess we'll be farther along than I thought.


Work Day

After letting me sleep in for a bit, Allen went out to work. He got about 8 hours in and got tons done. He dug 24 post holes - each of them 2 feet deep to hold the 4x4's were using to brace the sides of the play area. He leveled the ground, put up string lines to make sure all was square, and then attached a 4x4 every 4 feet on the 2x8x16's we're using as boundaries. We'll be putting down landscape plastic, sand, and then pea gravel. We looked into rubber mats (like at some McDonald's play places), but they want $25 per square - and we would need 120 of them! For rubber shreds, it would be $1200. Pea Gravel? $60. Sorry Lexi, but you'll have to be tough.

Lexi wanted to wear her hat and be like Allen, but started crying the minute I tried to get the shot. Go figure.

Our little helper. She especially likes to pull on the string lines once Allen has them set. Fun!


It's a beautiful morning

I really shouldn't be posting to the blog. I should be stretched out beneath the pines near a running stream while Lexi and Allen play in the water and enjoy nature.

We were close. So close. In fact, we were loading up the trailer and just mere hours from leaving. Lexi was playing with a friend so we could have a few hours to work hard and be ready to leave when she got home. I was wiping out the fridge in the trailer and inconspicuously running the water. You turn on the pump when you want to run the water. Since we were hooked up, I had Allen make sure to keep the water hose attached so we wouldn't use any from the tank. As he hooked us up, I hear spraying, gooshing, a sound like a toilet flushing and feel water at my feet. I look down and the whole trailer is filling with water! I scream for Allen, turn off the pump, turn off the water and run to turn off the hook up to the house. It's too late. The trailer is flooded and it's clear that the pump is blown and probably some of the pipes around it. After some muttering, cussing and laughing, we decide to shut down the camping trip and make some other plans.

Just a little re-cap here with regard to our last few camping trips: we go to Lumsden and nearly die on the road down, it rains, Brent's car catches fire. Next year, Dinky Creek. Brent in hospital, the rest of us barf our guts at camp and then drive home. The next 2 years we (me and Laura) forbid even the mention of camping. A year later we take 4 month old Lexi and get flooded and pack, running in the rain and high tail it home. Then, we buy a trailer. Finally, civilized camping. We head out for Utah only to put a full tank of gasoline in the diesel at 5 a.m. in Moab, spend 5 hours on the side of the road while it gets fixed, three days later we get all of the shocks replaced on the diesel, the next day we get all 4 tires replaced on the trailer - after being on the side of the road for about 3 hours in 102 degree weather - Allen prayed that if he did get run over by the big rigs flying by at 70 mph that he would die, not just be maimed. Now, we've killed the pump and water tank on our big investment - our ticket to family memories, happiness and an attempt at some sanity. Are these signs, or just normal fallout of being alive?

So, we are going to put up Lexi's playground this weekend. It's pouring rain and there is lighting with thunder. Allen continues to work anyway. I Be Streakin' is petrified of water and is our personal barometer. At the mere mention of water, he can be found peeking out of his stall. Really, I'll see him meandering about one minute, notice the weather is getting ugly, look up and he's already in his stall.
Streakin' protecting himself from the evil water

It's actually hailing and there is quite a bit of lightening around our house

Since we have nothing better to do, I'll be posting our progress throughout the weekend. We hope at least someone out there is doing something fun with the extra day off.


Weekend with the Riddles

Grandma and Grandpa Riddle were here for a long weekend. Lexi had a blast on all of our outings. Once she learned how to say, "Papa!" she kept yelling at Robert begging for his attention. Being the great Grandpa he is, he was quick to answer. Allen was in hog heaven as we finally had enough people to play Settlers of Catan. I actually played both nights. I did bow out to a game of Mormon Bridge, though, being the card lover (read: intense sarcasm) I am.

The weather had been thunderstorms and rain, but it cleared up during their visit so we enjoyed lots of outdoor time.

By the Rio Grande

Lexi hanging onto her trusty "handles" at the zoo

Lexi and Allen at the park in Old Town


Hanging out

Not too much out of the ordinary has been going on at our place. Today, we were playing inside (the winds are 40-60 mph and have been for about the last 3 weeks so we've been trapped indoors in the afternoons) and Lexi asked to wear a coat and hat with her new shoes. So, I took some pics of the kid being, well, a total kid.

I've been giving 6 lessons a week for the last month and will for the next month. Lexi is still playing at a friend's house for 3-4 hours on those days. She seems to have a really good time there and is exhausted when she gets home. The last 5 days she's slept 12 hours at night AND taken a 3-4 hour nap! I'm sure this will soon end, but it's been lots of down time for me!

This week, I've had church meetings or committments every night. Girls' camp is 3 weeks away and requiring a lot of time and planning. I'll be really glad when that event is over. Allen has dedicated this weekend to wrapping up the paddocks which means that something will come up and thwart his efforts. After this weekend, it's time to put up the playground. The awful winds should be dying down and I'm sure we'll spend lots of time out there this summer.

Lexi has started saying, "Thank you". I was changing a dirty diaper and she actually said, "Thank you mommy". Allen says when the kid can show thanks for your wiping her behind she should be more than ready to potty train. If only!


Eight Belles v. Big Brown

Big Brown

I watched the Kentucky Derby yesterday. The favorite was Big Brown. He's only had 3 starts(meaning: he's only raced in actual races against other horses 3 times) and had won each race. The Kentucky Derby would be his 4th race. He drew the gate farthest to the outside and no matter how great you are, that can be a death sentence. Consider all of the commotion at the race track, new ground, the adjustment from travel and put that on top of a really young horse with little experience and it's a gamble.

Then, there was Eight Belles. The reason she attracted so much attention was that she was a girl. The only girl in the race. It's been a lotta years since any filly has won the Derby. She was built very slight, and had terrible odds. However, because she was a filly, she had captured some media coverage.

The horses broke clean at the gate and made good time around the track. Halfway through the race, Big Brown was in 17th place. The jockey rode really well, pulled him from the outside and garnered a spot closer to the rail. Big Brown cruised past the other horses and took the win by 5 lengths. He was hardly blowing after the race and was so fresh he tossed his jockey during his cooldown! It was cake for him.

What about Eight Belles? The little filly came in second! Her odds were 20-1 and despite the odds, she gave a great showing. She ran her little guts out. After her remarkable race, Eight Belles was loping her cool out lap when both of her front ankels snapped. She was put down 5 minutes later. No one noticed because all eyes were on the winner. I didn't read about it until the evening news. This little filly, with terrible odds, came back to a strong second only to lose her life.

What does this matter? Horses are put down daily on the track (it's true). This is what I learned as I pondered this event:

There are lots of Big Browns in the world. People who take off from the gate strong, make it seem easy and don't seem any worse for the wear. They conquer the tough times, get dinner on the table, smile through tradegy, serve endlessly and hardly break a sweat. Then, there are the Eight Belles. The underdog or regular guys who work hard, run hard, give all they've got and come in 2nd. What's important in this lesson is to know that we are not measured by how we run against Big Brown. We are measured against what our individual potential is. If we only see who's in front of us, we'll always feel inadequate. Sometimes, it's easy for the Big Brown's to get the limelight, the kudos, but the Lord does not forget the hard working "fillies" who are running their guts out to do what is right.

The Lord only expects us to run as fast as we can. We don't want to chase the winner and end up crippling ourselves. The only reason we should feel as if something is lacking in our efforts is if WE know we can do better. If we can be Big Brown's, we should aspire to that. But, if we're doing all that we can, we should have peace in our hearts about our efforts. Never should what the other guy is doing be our marker for success. Each of us is here for a specific purpose. The only one who can fulfill your measure of creation is you! So even if wonderwoman or the "perfect" husband or family next door seems to be doing all that is right, no one can do what you are here to do on this Earth. No one can make the same differences or the same impact. So, when you're feeling inadequate think of little Eight Belles. She came from behind and made a great showing. She gave all she could. That is all the Lord every asks of us and that is what we should expect from ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less.

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.