Thursday, July 1, 2010

Arlington Race Track

Arlington National Race track is actually a beautiful race track in the suburbs of Chicago. Because of my sweet son's obsession of race horses we planned a trip to see the Arlington Downs. It's nothing like the Kentucky Derby or Belmont, but it's the closest thing to this neck of the woods.

The grounds are actually very articulate and beautiful.

It was such a HOT day, that we found ourselves spending lots of time in the shade.

Tye told me that my dress was ridiculous, he literally said. "Please tell me your not wearing that...." Sorry I thought, I'm not taking fashion advice from a 9 year old.

Sissy, didn't mind the dress, we actually matched a little!

Before each race, the trainers, jockeys and horse hands prepare the horses for the race, then they do a small parade in the Paddock. It's tradition that each member of the family picks the horse they think is going to win the race. Our betting is usually something like this. If a jockey or horse has ANY sign of Pink on it's saddle blanket or silks, it's Taylor's horse. If a horse is Black, he's got Tate's bet. Wes always reads the program and looks at the stats and makes his bet. (Which he usually wins) Tye, well I can't figure out Tye for the life of me, I'm not even going to attempt his philosophies on horse betting. I usually just pick the one I like best, no strategies and I usually loose.

Pretty soon the horn sounds the music starts and we run to the track...

It's actually pretty amazing to see these horses run 50 mph past you. The winning member of the family usually jumps up and down as they post the winners, then there is the typical fighting over why the other horse's didn't win(the excuses my kids come up with would floor you) but then the cycle repeats itself every 24 minutes!
Call us crazy, but it's pretty fun.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Branding 2010

Every year we head to Wyoming to brand Grandpa's cows.
I asked Tate to tell me how it's done.
Remember the following words come from my 7 year old son.

First of all, you saddle the horses. Well at least us cowboys do. I rode Hank.

Then you have to round the cows up, Mom's are "Mooing" really loud because they don't want you to take their babies. But we give them back.
Then you wrestle the calf to the ground and hold them down. Sometimes their legs slip and you get kicked, like last year when Dad broke his nose and all that blood came out.

We took turns sitting on Dad's lap holding the branding iron, I'm not old enough yet. Dad thinks we might get burned. The smoke stinks.

Then grandpa starts cutting the balls out. (castrating) We took turns holding the balls.

Even Sissy held the balls, I kept pretending I was going to eat them.
Tye helped grandpa give the shots, he didn't want to share.

We ran around and played with Luke, Cole, Jake, Tucker and Sadie. The smoke stinks.
The best part is at the end when we get to ride the calves. Yea Baby!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

New York, NY

In May I had the best trip in the world to New York, NY. We ate, ate & ate. We shopped, shopped and shopped. We saw the sights, went to 2 plays (Wicked & In the Heights - which I loved both), went to the museums, took a bus tour, got heckled by street vendors, rode the subway, took lots of pictures, met some wacky people, and laughed and laughed and laughed.

It was honestly a very fabulous trip, completely fascinating for this Wisconsin Girl...

We went and saw the Statue of Liberty...but it is actually really small!

The movies make it look big, but it's really not.

But the streets of New York are even more insane in person! The people, noise, honking taxi's, smells, funky getups and men in suits running everywhere is exactly what you see.

Central Park is actually very amazing. It's the only spot of peace and quit and normalcy. You see children playing and Dad's playing catch with their sons, but literally the children in New York City grow up on the streets. It is also HUGE, spanning many city blocks. But I completely understand why New Yorkers covet this park. (I would to if I lived there!)

We took a boat ride and had brunch at the boat house. It was also fun to see all the locations that movies were shot at. You almost felt that you had been there before.

Now, I mentioned that we shopped. But we Really Shopped! We took a behind the scenes shopping & clothing tour in the garment district. I have no sense of fashion, but I pretended for a day! Luckily I had the right girls with me to help me out!

We did shop, literally till we dropped!
But you can't help yourself! The shopping is indescribable, and fashion is such a part of life. Now let's put this in perspective. I live in De Pere Wisconsin, the anchor stores in the mall are Kohl's and Shopko, although we do have a Yonkers! But my daily life consists of jeans and a sweatshirt, maybe an occasional set of earrings. Seriously, I hardly ever dress up. I'm a Mom and I have 8,000 cattle in my backyard. Plus, who wears pearls to the baseball field? So to spend 6 days feasting on how cute I could be....was fun!

The highlight of the shopping was at Tiffany's where we all got matching Tiffany Toggle bracelets with matching Tiffany charms, it is a beautiful bracelet, but it's the memories and experience behind it that make it so special!

I also mentioned that we ate. This is the most truthful statement, I have NeVeR iN mY LiFe aTe So WeLL. The food actually had flavor, it was actually hot and I actually indulged at almost every meal, including breakfast. I have tried to erase the amount of food we consumed, but the memories are still there, and the fact that I had to wear strechy pants on the airplane home didn't even bother me! My tastebuds were in HeAveN!

Serendipity was amazing...I LOVED the frozen Hot Chocolate....even writing about if makes me homesick for NY. When I am in Vegas in August, I might just go straight from the airport.

The dessert...well you can see for yourself!

We ate at so many places....Sweet Pea's, Mary Beth's, lunch at Saxs.....
But the cream of the crop was "High Noon Tea" at the Plaza....Honesty - Over the Top! Our food was served on three tier platters...and trust me the atmosphere, the food, the service, the whole experience was seriously divine!

We went to Church, and that was quite the experience. You are walking along streets of high rise building and bam there you are, a Church and a temple! It's so bizarre, and then you see families coming out of the subways just walking in. I think that it is difficult to get to church, but I need to stop complaining! If I had to catch a taxi or cab....couldn't imagine!

Time Square is also a little extraordinary, the lights, action - it reminds me of Vegas without all the yucky magazines. It's busy 24 hours a day, and some weirdo's seem to emerge after hours!
We also had to visit Rockefeller Center, and even though I was not about to get up at 4:oo in the morning for the Today show or Good Morning America, it was fun to see where the filmed!

New York is difficult to explain, it is enormous, and it's a good thing I had great tour guides because I would still be lost. We went to this observatory and you can really get a glimpse of it's massiveness! Plus we had a great shot of it at was beautiful!

I loved New York and I also love who I went with.
Susan, Andrea & Ashley I love you Dearly!
Thank you for a trip of a lifetime!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tougher than the Rest...

Well new callings come and life changes.

Many of you know my husband personally, and many do not. The words I would use to describe him are tough, simple and pure. He truly is a cowboy - not the wrangler/hat/belt buckle cowboy, but the tough, rough and rugged cowboy, who really knows how to brand cattle and ride horses!
He loves to have fun, and is a dare devil at times. (Especially when he is around his brother and our brother in law) They are also his best friends.

He would rather live in this pack tent and live off the land than have the biggest house in the world. He is very simple in his wants and wishes in this life.

He loves loves loves loves loves hunting. (It is something I really don't understand, but try my best to support this obsession...)

And although I have yet to see him actually catch a fish, he loves to fly fish, and refuses to give up. (I should note that he has caught fish...I have just never seen it!)

He is very easy going, and "If" he likes you, be prepared to be endlessly teased. Most of the time you can find him at the ranch, trying consistently to make life better for everyone around him. He is honest, devoted and such a blessing to me, and our children.

Do not misunderstand me, I'm not the type of girl that pretends to live in a happy little dream world. We fight, we argue and many days I have to remind myself I love him because I have moments I don't necessarily like him. (Ask my sister, she is the one who gets the phone calls as I'm driving down the road to check into a hotel...but never really do).

I am also pretty selfish of his time, and like to keep him to myself. So needless to say when he got called into the Bishopric a few weeks ago I had very different emotions.

I have had many sacred moments in my life, but I will never forget watching him take his walk to the stand, and getting set apart as the new 2nd counselor. What a moment to Cherish.
I'm so eternally grateful to be a member of a Church that allows everyday men & women to serve God. To be a member of a Church that forgives us of our shortcomings and allows us to grow closer to Christ through service to others.
It's going to be hard to have him away and I could really list about 2,590 reasons to complain, but I'm trying to have a good attitude. (I will not mention what it was like to get the family to Church on my own the first week and I will have to repent of the bad thoughts I had the entire trip...but I am trying!

The nice part was having the support of family & friends in this new adventure. Wes's Dad & Uncle Ron came out for the ordination, and it was such a blessing to have family with us.

So, here's to change, and here's too my "tougher than the rest" cowboy who has a lot of work a head of him!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not Yet!

Taylor came to me recently and said..."Mom my front tooth is loose." I could only think of one thing. I'm not ready for the toothless/ugly/big teeth/small face stage that all kids enter. I hate that stage!!! She's my baby and I love the baby teeth!
Needless to say I had to do some quick pictures before the inevitable.....

I'm not ready for this, not yet!