Saturday, August 28, 2010

A 2 hour lesson

Every other Saturday we spend 2 whole hours (at least) out at Echo Valley Arabian stables. This is a very long time to spend in one area. So we keep ourselves busy.

The boys do the riding...they have usually worked out who will go first and who will go second by the time we have arrived. This is generally done by rock/paper/scissors method. It seems that Mat goes first most of the time.

He's got to go get the tack:

Lead the horse out to the arena and tie him to the fence posts so that he can get the hooves cleaned out and brush him all over.

Brush and brush and brush some more.

There is always a little time to be cute, though.

Then it's on to the riding.

Meanwhile, we gather our lawn chairs and look for the spot with the least amount of flies. No small chore.

Isn't the belly coming along nicely? I do believe there is a small person in there! Three cheers for stretchy t-shirts...

Laney loses the shoes. Although admittedly, a place with this many horses would be a place where shoes could come in pretty handy.

The resident farm animals become the first source of entertainment. There are several scruffy, laid-back dogs around.

Cats are a rarity around our house due to Mark's allergies and white-hot hatred of the species. So the kids get their fill of kitty while they can.

Soon, however, all the animals have been petted, the ducks have been visited and we still have an hour and 53 minutes to go. So we start picking the grass:

Visiting the horses out in the pasture. Oh...and the station wagons in the pasture.

Megan and Laney hed into the barn and visit the horses. Stay away from the short "pony"...he'll bite your fingers off. Bitter little pony. Soon they tire of this and find the brooms and sweep up all the stray hay. They are kind enough to sweep it over to the horse stalls so they can have a little snack.

And....then we're done with that and we've still got at least an hour and 20 minutes to go. So we get out the camera and have a bit of a photo shoot!

Starting with an unsuspecting Karen of the most patient riding coaches around. She's great!

The water's hot.

Laney with a face that screams: I'm having a great time on the ranch! The dirt and boogers prove it.

Megan practices her leg crossing skills.

A little posing for the kiddos.

Winds heading to the Northeast, I see.

Self portrait.

The pumpkin patch.

Mom gets a turn with the camera.

And there were oh-so-many more photos. They used up the battery and the memory card and I would let them do it all over again.

Now what to do for the remaining 38 minutes?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First day of school

Hello, New School Year!

We are totally ready for you!

We have on our new duds!

We've loaded the car with a ridiculous amount of school supplies!

We are SO much older today...

Ethan. 4th grader.

Mathew. 2nd grader.

Megan. Kindergarten at last.

Laney. Stuck at home with Mom.

Have a great day, kiddos! See you at 3 o'clock!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


If I had to give you any advice on something fun to do in Kansas City if you are over 10 years old, I'd have no idea. Nada.

But if you are a kid....we're golden!

Kaleidoscope is a place where Hallmark sets up tables, chairs, music makers, markers, paints, strings, scissors, stickers, die name it and they let kids just go crazy with creativity.The decor is whimsical and artsy and ultra colorful.

It really is phenomenal.

And free. (Do I detect a pattern here?)

Ethan stylin his cub scout hat and sunglasses.

Laney takes her work very seriously. You would too if you had 3 older siblings. It's eat or be eaten....paint or be painted.

Fun with the number 8.

Laney playing in the "music cave". A very cool place to be and also a fairly safe place to leave her while a do a frantic speedwalk around the rest of the room to headcount my other 3 kids.

Ethan does the robot to Laney's fantastic stylings outside the music cave.

A moment of concentration.

Waiting for their artwork to come out of the drying machine. It adds a sense of drama and professionalism. At least I think it does.

When all was said and done, we left with 4 bags stuffed full of each child's artwork that we stowed in the depths of the van. It was discovered 4 weeks later when Mark decided to clean out said van. It was never heard from again. The kids haven't noticed....and I'm not going to tell them.