Wednesday, April 28, 2010

~picture post~

I always have good intentions of taking lots of pictures... of both special occasions and ordinary days... but unfortunately, I'm terrible at remembering the camera and often forget to take any at all.

This morning I was doing school with M... (he was working on an especially hard subject... can you tell?)

... while R groomed Murphy...

... and the day was just so pretty I decided to run and get the camera and take some pictures.

Nothing terribly exciting went on today... but I took pictures anyway (making up for all the times I forgot to take any?)

So anyway, the day started with R working outside and M working inside...

Cody was stressed in the extreme that R was so far away from him...

...he stood on the front deck, whining and crying for his "girl".

M finished up school...

... while R was still hard at work with Murphy. (She had already gotten her school done...)

Once school was done we headed down to the riding stable... I love the drive down there, it's always so beautiful.

See Pikes Peak in the distance?

R rode outside, while M rode inside, in the arena.

Aren't these little ones too cute? (And doesn't the horse look HUGE?) They are the children, 4 and 6 years old, of R's riding instructor...

It was a perfect day for riding, R kept saying "this feels wonderful!".

After lessons were over, it was off to the optical store to order M's new glasses... (and a quick trip to E's house while we were waiting for the glasses to be made)

I was pleasantly surprised when they said the glasses would be done in an hour, that's so much better than the week we had to wait last time he needed new glasses.

Here they are... he can see again!

I slaved away over a hot stove for hours making a healthy, balanced, dinner for my family...

... then we enjoyed our read-aloud book and headed for bed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We've been super busy the past few days...

When we're home, despite all the terrible wind we've had lately, I've been outside working on the yard and gardens. Unfortunately, we've had a bunch of doctor appointments lately as well.  M finally had his long awaited second opinion appointment with the new GI doc, and it went well. This doctor thinks he knows what's the matter with M's GI system, and how to fix it...

It would be so wonderful if he was right.

Next week M will go in for more testing (another endoscopy, and a colonoscopy-type test, both under general anesthesia), then we'll go back to talk about the results and treatment options. I'm cautiously optimistic that the end of all this is finally in sight...

But anyway, back to the Nebraska trip...

Thursday morning, after walking out to the homestead, and meeting with JM in St Paul, we left for home. We took I-80 west and looked forward to stopping at some of the museums that had looked so interesting to us on the trip out.

We almost stopped at the Stuhr Pioneer Museum in Grand Island, but decided at the last minute (literally in the parking lot) not to, since it looked like it was very spread out, and both R and I were still worn out from our long walk to the homestead and back. It really did look like an excellent museum, and we'll probably stop there the next time we are out that direction, but we decided to get back on the highway and just keep going...

Our next stop was at the Great Platte River Road Archway Museum in Kearney, NE.  It was incredible... what an great museum. It was full of life-sized diorama type displays that chronicle the history of the "river road" of the Platte.  Each of us were given headphones as we entered the museum... and as we walked through each display we heard sounds, stories, facts, etc. from that period in history... all given in a "newsy", easy to understand way.

It was so cool...

The next two pictures turned out blurry, but I decided to post them anyway. The first one is of the "greeter" who met us at the door of the museum... The second one is of the diorama next to the escalator going up to the upper level.

More dioramas...

Some of them were incredibly life-like.

Care for a cup of coffee? :)

Then down a diferent escalator.... and back to 2010!

We got back on the highway again,  watching for Gothenburg, NE and their little Pony Express Museum. One of the displays at the Archway Museum (which, by the way, is housed in a real archway that stretches up over the top of I-80!) featured the pony express, so we were excited to see an authentic pony express station.

We had no trouble finding the museum, and it was full of information about the Pony Express. It had been a real stop on the Pony Express and moved to it's current location some years later. It was well worth the stop...

An ancient buffalo hide coat...

We made it all the way to Sterling, Co before stopping for the night.  We could have made it the rest of the way home (we were only a couple of hours away) but we were tired, and Joe was working on a project here at the house and needed a few more hours (without us) to finish it up. So we found a nice motel in Sterling for the night.

The next morning, before heading for home, we stopped at Sterling's Overland Trail Museum. I hadn't been too excited at first about stopping... thinking it would be small and much like countless other little museums we've seen in the past... But I was soooo wrong. It ended up being a highlight of the trip...

The main museum building is good-sized, with a variety of different types of displays. We saw everything from fossils found in the Sterling area, to old quilts, antique furniture, WWI and WWII memorabilia, etc. They had a wonderful collection of antique clothing, and it was especially interesting because they had old photos of people wearing the clothing displayed... It was fun.

R was NOT impressed by this coyote skin...

Then we went outside, where there are 11 buildings set up a little like a small town might have looked years ago. You can walk through an old gas station, barbershop, general store, etc... all filled with items from that era.

R found a side saddle out in the barn...

I especially liked the side saddle with an embroidered seat.

We were fortunate to see some visiting draft horses getting hitched up..

... and ready to hit the trail.

After we left the museum, we headed for home... getting home by early afternoon. It was a really great trip, but it was also wonderful to be home again.

Monday, April 26, 2010




April 26, 2010

Outside my window... The sky is a brilliant blue, with just a few wisps of clouds. It snowed again last night so everything is dusted lightly with white...

I am thinking... that with the sun so bright, the snow probably won't last long.

I am thankful for...  a new day, and the possibilities it brings.

From the learning rooms... We've been changing our school schedule around a bit, trying to get more school done in the morning so school doesn't take up our whole afternoon... leaving us some  time then to do other things.

From the kitchen... with M's still very limited diet, cooking is challenging... I'm getting really tired of white chicken.

I am wearing... jeans, green long sleeved tee, and my demin "Special Olympics" shirt

I am creating... a little bit of music (mixed in with a fair amount of twang!), having lots of fun with my new banjo!

I am going... today? Nowhere. We did a lot of running around yesterday... today will be a good day to stay home.

I am reading... The kids and I are reading The Penderwicks for our read-aloud, and I've set Lewis and Clark aside for yet a little while longer while I read (at R's insistence) her favorite book. Honestly... I hate the book, but I guess I'm going to have to find at least a few things I like about it when R asks.

I am hoping... (wishing?) that M's stomach problems would just somehow disappear. It's been 2 1/2 months since his surgery and I'm really ready for things to get back to what used to pass for normal around here.

I am hearing... the quiet drone of a plane passing by high over the house (not one of the little noisy ones that sometimes buzz around), the shower running, Cody's tags jangling as he scratches himself.

Around the house... I spent Sat. morning cleaning, which helps things feel a bit more caught up again. I haven't been able to reach the guy we're hoping to get the new carpet through though... I'll try again to reach him this week, and move on to someone else if I still can't connect with him.

One of my favorite things... the way the sun glitters on the snow.

A few plans for the rest of the week... school, blood draw, trip to library, M's PT, trip to the stable... There's probably more but I can't remember what it is right now.

A picture I'm sharing...

this morning's sunrise

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Cody: before and after

So... Cody finally had his appointment at the groomers. I'm embarrassed to admit that just since Sunday I've made four different appointments for him to be groomed... and cancelled three of them.

The first one I had to cancel because I couldn't provide written proof that his rabies vaccination is up to date. There have been a lot of rabid skunks found in our area... even Murphy and Tucker are immunized against rabies... and the groomer wouldn't take Cody without documentation that his shots are up to date.

The next one I cancelled when I got to the grooming shop and found that Cody would be crated, for hours, because they groom several dogs at once, rotating them through, with the ones that are finished with whatever the groomer is currently working on crated until it's their "turn" again. I didn't want him crated for long periods of time, so I cancelled that appointment and made another appointment (at the same place) for an "express grooming".

An express grooming meant I would bring Cody in and he'd be groomed right away, with little or no time in the crate. (I do understand the wisdom and usage of crates with dogs, but seeing where he'd be... in a dark back room with all the crates stacked one upon the other,  just made me uncomfortable.)

They couldn't fit Cody in for an "express" appointment until the next day, so we packed up and headed back home again. As we drove R said she didn't like the way she'd seen the groomers at this shop handling the dogs, and didn't want to take Cody there after all. I had been thinking exactly the same thing so.... that appointment was cancelled too.

I called around some more and found what seemed to be a much better grooming shop. The people I talked to there seemed to really love dogs, and were fine with not crating Cody, so I made an appointment with them for this morning.

Here is Cody before we left...

Very cute, isn't he?

I thought he looked fine... a little overgrown, maybe... but mostly ok.

Here is the "after" picture. He cleans up pretty well, doesn't he?

R keeps talking about how cool is it that she can see his eyes now...

He was only gone two hours at the groomers, but R was already missing him...

I think this is definitely a match made in heaven.

7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes


It feels like we've spent all week running around. We've been out to Longhopes Donkey Shelter (just to visit, not to get another donkey), to Casa Bonita for lunch with some friends from our homeschool group, and to the riding center for lessons. We took Cody to the vet, and I think (hope!) we have found a good groomer for him. His appointment is this morning, we'll see how it goes.


Did you notice, we didn't have ONE doctor visit this past week? (The vet doesn't count...) It was WONDERFUL! Unfortunately M's GI problems aren't over... Casa Bonita taught us that hard lesson. Despite limiting what he was eating, he was so sick after our lunch there. :( That's a mistake I won't make again...


We also made a trip to the library this week (the first in a while) and I found some good beginning banjo books. I've been working on learning some different "rolls" (right hand picking patterns), and slowly my fingers are becoming not quite as slow and clumsy... I'm having a lot of fun.


Cody is turning out to be almost the perfect dog. He is housebroken, devoted to R, happy, with a sweet disposition, not aggressive to Emma and Quin, and he's learning to stay off the furniture pretty quickly. The only downside? He has separation anxiety. We're taking him with us as much as possible (he was such a good and polite dog at the stable!) and when we have to leave him home we leave him in R's room with Emma as his "babysitter". As the days go by he seems less anxious, so it's not a huge problem... more of a quirk... and probably understandable given that he was left in the night drop box at the animal shelter. He really is a good fit for R, she seems to like having the constant companionship.


The weather has been wild over the past twenty four hours. Yesterday morning I woke up to fog so thick I couldn't even see a car going by up on the road... we we totally swallowed up in fog. It burned off after a while and it was sunny and warm. Then thick, heavy, impossibly dark clouds rolled in bringing wind, rain, hail, and a tornado warning. Eventually they moved on leaving just a few light showers mixed with sun. I woke up this morning to snow.... It's coming down hard now and the wind is blowing it sideways.  I feel like we've had a little of each of the four seasons over the past 24 hours...


I miss Tilly but, in a way, am glad she's gone too. This kind of quickly changing weather was so hard on her...I know she'd be miserable.  Tucker is doing better, he's stopped looking for her, and both R and I have noticed that he's friendlier and less skittish now that she's gone. Hmm.. I thought it would be just the opposite.


Here's the agenda for today... We'll take Cody to town for grooming (unless the roads are too nasty), and M's physical therapist will be here this morning  for his PT (unless she cancels because of the snow)... and this afternoon we'll head down to E's (dd#1) for a quick visit... but that too might not happen if we get a lot of snow.   So really, I guess I have no idea what the agenda for today is... ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

endings and beginnings

The past few days have been ones of endings and beginnings...

Sadly, after my last post, Tilly continued to go downhill in terms of her level of pain. She had almost stopped eating, and her eyes reflected the pain she was feeling. The vet came out and said there was nothing more he could do for her... so we made the hard decision to put her down.

We said good-bye to her Friday afternoon...

She was an incredible creature... I've never known another animal with her amazing combination of strength, forgiveness, persistence and gentleness. After being rounded up by the BLM as a wild three year old and sold, she endured years of abuse... abuse that left her legs permanently damaged.  I couldn't fix that damage, but I'm glad we were able to make the end of her life as easy as possible.

Tucker (her son) was very hurt and confused when she died... We left her body in the pasture for awhile and he alternated between licking the spot on her neck where the needle had gone in, and pawing the ground. He stood watch over her all that night.  The next morning, after her body was gone, he stood at the fence braying for her... His reaction to losing her has been incredibly sad to watch.

Thankfully both M and R have handled losing Tilly reasonably well... Both kids showed a lot of maturity and growth compared to when we lost Grant almost 2 1/2 years ago.

R has been grieving though. I'd told her awhile ago that she could get another dog (she lost her dog to cancer about 6 months ago), and decided that losing Tilly made it a bit more urgent to find her a dog quickly. She wanted a smallish dog, but not a puppy...we were thinking about a bichon frise (or a bichon mix)... A dog that would become a companion and hopefully a comfort to her when she's feeling anxious.

I started checking the online listings for our local shelters, and just today found what (I hope!) will be the perfect dog for her.

His name is Cody and he's a bichon frise, shih tzu mix (a zuchon! :). He's 3 years old and was given up because kids in his home were allergic. He's got a very sweet, friendly personality and enough energy to keep with R. She is crazy about him.

Doesn't he have the sweetest face?

Needless to say, R is thrilled...