Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wildlife Prairie State Park

Yesterday, the kids didn't have school. So we decided it was a good day to visit my friend and her adorable little daughter. We took a trip down towards Peoria and spent the day at the Wildlife Prairie Park.

It only took 20 minutes to get the kids to stop shoving each other long enough to snap this shot:

They had a little movie about the park that played continuously inside the Visitor's Center. We were the only ones there, so the kids had more fun making their own shadow-puppet movies. We were able to get pretty darn close to some of the animals. This is a black bear. I thought black bears were a smaller bear, but this one seemed plenty big to me.
That's Cole up there on the observation deck, overlooking the prairie full of elk, geese and buffalo.

There are statues of animals all over the park. Of course, Cole (being the huge fan that he is of toads and frogs) wanted to take this one home with us. I'm sure it would've been lovely in his room.We had a really nice time visiting with Susan and Ella, and the weather was just beautiful. So it was a wonderful day to spend outdoors enjoying Mother Nature.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Football Season

Football season is in full swing here. Cole is really enjoying his first year of tackle. Doesn't he look tough despite being the lightest kid on the team?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Ducks At 5 Weeks

The feathers just keep coming in. You can see how much brown and beige coloring they are getting. I'm not sure exactly how large they will eventually get, but they seem to be nearly the size of adult ducks to me.

This appears to be a female, and it looks like she's a crested duck. She'll be almost as funny looking as the runner duck with that puff-ball on her head.

See all the funny feathers just starting to poke through around their faces? Right now they look a little bit like a pin cushion. I can't wait to see the final result.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Country -vs- Crumb

I'll just let the pictures tell the tale of the introduction of our cat, Country, and Crumb.

Erin and Crumb

As you can see, I'm not the only one who likes to snuggle with Crumb. Erin thinks he's a pretty sweet boy too. He's already figured out that she's very good at giving lots of attention and bats his big brown eyes at her often. Like me, she finds it impossible to resist.

Slightly Obsessed

I am more than a little obsessed with Crumb. He is just SO sweet. It's such a sharp contrast to my Arabian mare, Gypsy.

Gypsy loves me... when she feels like it. She's not warm and cuddly. She prefers that I dote on her by grooming her until she's beautiful so that she can trot around with her tail in the air like she's better than everyone else. If I dare turn my attention to another horse, or god forbid RIDE one, she is thrown into a jealous rage. As soon as that horse is turned back into the pasture with her, she runs after him/her with her ears pinned back and teeth showing. She lets them know that they are not supposed to be messing with HER human. She follows that by completely ignoring me for my infidelity. She refuses to make eye contact and will turn her head back and forth just to avoid me. If I reach out to pet her, she turns two steps away, just out of reach. If I step forward to pet her again, same thing, until she finally trots away with her snout in the air. I'm pretty sure she'd flip me the bird if she had a middle finger. Instead, she uses her tail. She's a bit like a possessive stalker.

But Crumb? Oh man, he's a lover. I think he'd stand all day with me to hug and snuggle. He wants to do whatever I want him to do - even if he's not sure what that is sometimes. He is something else. I'm sure Gypsy has noticed this as well. Currently, they are in adjoining pastures, but have not yet been together. I'm guessing she's about to boil over with contempt.

Who could blame me though? Look at this pretty boy:

Look how big he is compared to me. He makes me feel so little.

Isn't he just too cool??? :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A New Halter For Crumb

Yesterday I ordered a personalized halter for Crumb. I am SO excited about my new buddy! I found a site where I could cyber-create the halter first so I could see what it would look like. You can choose your horse's color (or close to it) and then design the halter by color and personalization. This is the simulation of what I ordered. (Can you tell I finally figured out the "screen capture" thing on my photo editing software?) I ended up just getting his name put on the noseband, and not the cheek piece, but I think it will look very nice on the big man. Now I need to measure him for a blanket. This is way better than a Barbie doll!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meet Crumb

I was NOT in the market for another horse. Really. Why are you laughing?

My back has been a disaster for the past couple years. I've hardly ridden, and when I have, I've been in so much pain afterwards. I have truly been depressed, thinking maybe my riding days are over. I've had so many people tell me that I need to try some of the gaited horse breeds. They have sworn that the way they move is much, much easier on the ol' back. Also, all of my neighbors have Tennessee Walkers. I have been the odd man out around here. Well, long story short, one of my neighbors called me about a Tennessee Walker that was for sale, the owner offered me a two-week trial on him, I fell in love and we moved him home this weekend. My back has actually IMPROVED from riding him. The gentle swaying movement seems to be loosening it up. And this guy is the biggest love bug! What a personality! Plus he's absolutely gorgeous, and compared to the rest of our shorter horses, he's huge. His name is "Crumb" (his mom is "Cookie") and I'm so excited. I almost feel like I've gotten my life back. Woo hoo!