Croyle's Visit

Summer is almost over, but we had time to squeeze in a quick visit with the Croyles.

We did lots of playing at the house.

The girls LOVED giving Jake a hard time!

And, enjoyed a day at Chuck E. Cheese's.

Random Updates

My camera is broke, and it's no fun telling stories without pictures.

So, here are a few quick updates:

1. We've added 2 more members to the family. I guess that 8 wasn't enough.

Frisbee (formerly Chaz) is a fearless 5 month old kitten. We brought him home from the SPCA about two weeks ago. He is a happy little guy, although he hasn't been feeling well since he's been home (colds and parasites). The kids love this cat, and he doesn't act like he is at all afraid of them. This picture (taken with one of the kids' cameras) doesn't really capture what a cutie he is.

And this is Quinn (formerly Finn). He is about 3 years old, and is the coolest cat I've ever met. He usually hides from the kids (who can blame him), but will sit on their laps if they are sitting still.

2. Maddie and Owen went back to school. Maddie is in 4th grade with the same teacher she had last year (and the year before). Owen is in 1st grade. They seem to like it so far.

3. Ginger is getting ready to start preschool. There is an opening, and we are submitting her paperwork tomorrow. She'll be going to the same school as the big kids (Casa Esperanza Montessori). I spent some time talking to her about it the other day - explaining all about teachers, uniforms, lunch, recess, nap time, etc. The only thing she was interested in talking about was how she was going to wear her hair on her first day. That's my girl!!

4. CoCo will be going to day care, or preschool, depending on whether they have an opening for her or not. My preference is for her to go to preschool, but those slots don't open up too frequently.

5. Momma is going back to work. I just can't stay home anymore (long story - not really relevant to the family blog). I've been on a lot of interviews (some were really, VERY odd), but accepted a position doing some contract work. It isn't my dream job, but it'll be a decent pay check.

I think that is everything. I should be back to my picture taking self any day now!

Girls Only Trip - The Ride Home

It was HARD getting up on that last day of the Girls Only Trip. Good golly, I was tired! Maddie had quite the hard time as well. But, you know the story - we promised the B & B owner that we would join her and her other guests for breakfast at 8:30am.

After a beautiful breakfast, it was time to head home. The girls weren't quite finished with all of their shopping, so they walked over to a re-sale shop in town while we packed up the van. As it turned out, the resale shop wasn't much of a shop AND it never opened. So, we were on our way.

I thought for sure that those girls would sleep for a few minutes in the car, but no. No sleep.

Maddie was slap-happy tired and began barking at Zoe. Zoe was butt-cranky tired, and started snapping at Maddie. Those girls are so cute, that the whole thing was funny.

Or, maybe I was still sleeping and only dreamed it.

Anyway, we were about halfway home when Vicky saw a sign for a huge flea market. That woman has an eye for those things. She can spot a flea market, yard sale, garage sale or Goodwill shop from a mile away.

When asked if they wanted to stop, the girls answered a resounding "YES!!!"

The flea market was GREAT! Maddie enjoyed looking at tables and tables full of toys. Zoe kept looking for clothes and pocket books. I found a lady who had "over 2,000" video games for sale. She said that she had personally tested every single one! Ah, the good life! We all managed to find a few treasures before heading out again.

Oh, and deep fried nutter butters are not nearly as good as they sound.

Once again, we were on our way.

We arrived at the Croyles house and barely had time to unload our stuff and reload it into the other van before it was time to leave again. At that point, we still had 5 - 6 hours of driving in front of us.

Maddie and I stopped for some caffeine and tabasco flavored slim jims before hitting the road for the last leg of our trip. Maddie fell asleep immediately. She woke up long enough to go eat her dinner at the Cracker Barrel and spend her remaining money on Webkinz. (I do love the Sunday special fried chicken at the Cracker Barrel!!). But, she spent almost the entire trip snoozing away.

I had my tunes to keep me company. We finally made it home after 1am.

The next day, I slept in later than I have for over 10 years.

Life is good.

The Yard Sale, Day 2

Once again, we were itching to get out of the house early to hit all of the sales. Once again, we had promised the B & B and owner that we would have breakfast with her and the other guests at 8:30. I guess it wouldn't have been fair to ask them if everyone would be willing to have breakfast at 6:30 so that we wouldn't miss anything.

The second day of the yard sale went very much like the first day of the yard sale, except some sales were starting to look picked over. No problem for us - we can find treasures in even the most small yard sales. As Maddie says "Other people's crap is our treasures!" (That girl cracks me up).

We shopped and shopped, but had to stop a little early to go on our horse back trail rides.

Our new friend, Heather (from the Clearfield County Visitor guide), said that she did not necessarily recommend the farm that we were going to. She thought that they choose their horses for the wrong reasons (based on cost, rather than their appropriateness for general public trail rides). She did say that she was very good friends with the farm owners, and that she would be going on the trail ride, too.

There isn't much that worries us, so we decided to go anyway. Plus, it would have been rude to cancel at the last minute.

We arrived at the farm, and things started well enough. There was the 4 of us, plus Heather, plus 2 young teenage kids. They tried to put us on horses based on our experience level. Zoe is the expert, so she got a horse that was supposed to be a little trickier. Maddie and I got horses that were known for their slow nature and gentleness. Vicky got a horse somewhere in the middle.

When they put me on the horse, they noticed that one of the stirrups was broken. They tried to fix it for a few moments while I was sitting on the horse, but no luck. The owner said "Well. You'll be okay without it." I'm not a complainer by nature, but I have to say it was rather uncomfortable to ride a horse with only one stirrup. And, it was a little scary. Every other time that I have been on a horse, I have found that I needed both stirrups. But, whatever.

They brought out a HUGE horse for Heather. This was the biggest horse I've ever seen. Granted, I'm not around horses much. BUT, even Zoe and Vicky (the professionals) agreed that this horse was exceptionally large. Apparently, this horse had not been ridden in over a year. Something seems wrong with sending a horse like that on a trail ride. But, off we went.

We were allowed to go ahead on the trail unguided for a few minutes. Unusual, but no big deal.

We were warned to not get behind the black horse (that was ridden by one of the teen age kids) because the horse would kick any horse behind him. I found this to be true. If another horse was beside him, this black horse would position itself such that it could kick the other horse. My horse fell victim to this kicking on more than one occasion.

After a few minutes of riding, Maddie, Vicky and Zoe got far ahead of me. My horse was lazy, and liked to eat. Since I have no skill at this activity, I couldn't get the horse to move. People yelling "Kick 'em" did not help. Anyway, I didn't mind. Vicky and Zoe know what they are doing, and Maddie has had a lot of experience doing this type of riding.

As we rode the trail, the farm dog followed us. At one point, the dog jumped out behind some tall weeds and spooked the horses in front of us - including my Maddie's horse. I felt as though I was watching it in slow motion -- Maddie's horse jumps, she holds on for dear life, Maddie's horse kicks, she keeps holding on, Maddie's horse jumps yet again, and she slides of the side of the horse like a pro and gently lowers herself onto the ground. It was the most gentle and graceful fall that one could imagine. Maddie was lucky that the horse did not step on her, and she quickly jumped right back on. She was a little embarrassed, but not at all scared.

Not too much later, Heathers giant horse monster (the one that hadn't been ridden in over a year) literally threw her from his back. It was unreal. There was nothing slow about that. She landed a good 5 feet from the horse. She landed HARD. It's a wonder she didn't get hurt. She tried to get back on the horse, but he wouldn't comply. In fact, he would take off running in various directions any time she got near him. This spooked the other horses, and I got to experience my horse running thru the woods, bucking and kicking.

Have I mentionned that I am NOT a professional, nor is this an activity that I would choose on my own?

And, may I remind you that I am working with just one stirrup.

Anyway, the owners eventually caught the horse and walked it home. My horse calmed down after a bit, except when he would run to catch up with the rest of the group.

All of the horses seemed a little bit wild for a trail ride such as this. They allow children as young as 5 years old to ride these horses. It just didn't seem safe. Most horse trail places that I've been to have horses that are very calm and very slow. These types of places cater to the general population, and not just people with experience.

Anyway, the highlight of the trip was when the farm dog returned to the trail ride with a large ground hog between it's jaws. The ground hog was almost as big as the dog. He followed us along happily for the last leg of the trip, carrying his prize the whole way. At one point, he fully submerged himself in a puddle, ground hog and all, and then kept dunking the ground hog in for good measure. It was so funny. (You probably had to be there to get how funny it was, but it sure did crack me up).

I was thankful that it started to rain and the trail ride ended after an hour (rather than the 2 we'd signed up for).

The farm owners said that they've never before had such an exciting trip. I find it hard to believe, but like the idea that we will go down in history (if only for that farm).

After the farm, we were STARVING. We went to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, known for the World's Largest Hamburger. They have 2 lb burgers, 3 lb burgers, 6 lb burgers, and so on. The largest is 100 lbs! (they usually do those for charity events).

We enjoyed looking at the "Wall of Fame!" and were tickled to see that a woman (fondly referred to as "Rubber Gut") had set the record for eating the 3 pound burger in just 20 minutes! That's her picture below. A Can you imagine eating that whole thing in 20 minutes?

Maddie was the only one who bothered to get a burger. It was 1/3 of a pound, and she left half of it on her plate.

The rest of us enjoyed other items from the menu, including wings, clams and salads.

It was very good, and I highly recommend going there if you are anywhere in the area.

After dinner, we walked around town a bit, and purchased our tickets for the late showing of the new Harry Potter movie. It was an old theater, complete with red velvet seats and fire places. The lobby was decorated with huge fish aquariums.

Since we were a little early for the movie, we walked around town for about an hour. There are lots of interesting little shops that we would have liked to have gone into, but it was really late.

Harry Potter was a wonderful movie. Maddie (having read each of the books at least 5 times) loved every second of it. She was literally on the edge of her seat! Zoe had to ask a bunch of questions to get caught up on the story line, but later reported that she really liked the movie. Vicky fell asleep.

We got home well after midnight. I now understand what the term 'bone tired' means. If I've ever said that I was tired before, I really didn't mean it.

I still cannot fathom how we fit so much into each day! But, once again, we had a blast.