I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

23 Oct

a girl and her horse …

I couldn’t decide if I should just make this a “Wordless Wednesday” post … or if I should bore you with at least a few words.

Obviously, I decided on the latter.

Rocco … or Sirocco as he’s called in the show ring, has been an amazing partner for Taylor these last few months.

From the time she was just four years old, I have always loved to see her on the back of a horse. But watching her with Rocco has meant more to me than all those years put together. Maybe it’s because he’s meant so much to Taylor.

He’s brought life back into her spirit.

I think he’s touched her heart in a way no one else could.

I’ve seen her grow in ways I never thought I would.

All I know is … there’s definitely a reason girls fall in love with horses. And I think the image I captured above shows every single one of them.

Posted in riding, taylor

20 Sep

RIP willie :: when a carnival fish dies

Posted in our family, pets, piper, random, taylor

17 Jul

sisters who ride together …

I love, love, love that these girls are riding together! We’ve had quite the busy riding and showing schedule, but they love every minute of it!

The other two? Not so much. But they’ve been such troupers keeping themselves busy … even if it is in a mud pile!

All that said … I do have to admit, when I’m in the middle of slinging horse manure, there are times I wonder why I couldn’t be a soccer mom instead! This horsey business is A LOTS O’ hard work!!

Shows are typically two days {Saturday and Sunday}, but we drive up the day before to get a schooling ride in and get settled in the barn. The next day, we wake up at the crack of dawn {shown below} for a schooling ride before the 7:30 “class” starts.

It’s hurry, hurry, hurry:

  • braid the hair
  • dress the kid {she needs a little help to get it just right}
  • put the number on
  • put the garters on
  • groom the horse
  • get tack together
  • tack the horse
  • polish horses feet {dead serious.}
  • put kid on horse
  • polish kids shoes once mounted
  • get to the schooling ring
  • wait for class to start
  • watch class
  • collect ribbons
  • back to barn
  • untack horse
  • brush off or hose down
  • put tack away
  • and then wait
  • and wait
  • and wait

‘Til the next ride. And then we do it all over again. For two of them.

It makes for a long weekend … but it’s seriously rewarding to see how much the girls love it.

On this particular day, Wynter was first up. We’re still looking for just the right mount for her. You might remember Grace? Sadly, Grace didn’t work out and we’re still looking.

This pony, Poncho, lived close to the show grounds and the owner agreed to let us try him out. Wynter had her schooling ride on him the day before the show and it went well enough to give him a try at the show.

He’s cute enough and all … but he wasn’t too good in the show ring. He’s what you’d call a “herd pony.” And didn’t want to be away from the other horses. Wellllll … when you’re showing in these classes, it’s best to be riding by yourself and not gather up with the other ponies … although at this level, it’s kinda what the kids tend to do. It reminds me of when Piper played soccer as a peanut and all the little kids moved through the field as one unit. Anyway. Poncho would want to catch up with other horses and would start cantering when he shouldn’t, and basically wouldn’t listen to Wynter very well.

So yeah. He didn’t work out.

Wynter got a 5th, 4th, and 5th place ribbon in her classes on him.

Next up, it’s Taylor’s turn! Taylor has been ah.maz.ing on her new boy Rocco! She’s found her passion again and I can’t begin to explain how it warms my heart.

She had two jumper classes this day and took a first and second place. Crazy amazing!

The next day, Sunday, Taylor started out early in a couple of equitation classes. They didn’t do too great in these. I think she got a 5th and a 6th.

At the end of the equitation class, they all need to line up with their numbers facing the judge. Wynter has to do this in her classes too and it’s kinda way too cute to see them all trying to get in a single file line.

After Taylor was done and we’d done a sufficient amount of waiting, Taylor had two more jumper classes.

{see all the mud and muck?? TONS of rain was had!}

And then something that completely amazes me … they need to learn and remember their jumping courses. The courses are only posted the morning of the event and each day it changes. New day, new course.

So before her class starts, they look at the posted course, get a good handle on it and commit it to memory, and then they go out and physically walk the course. Here’s Taylor with her trainers walking the course.

The class Taylor rides in is judged on two different things. Power and speed. At the first part of the class, they need to go clean {not knock any poles/rails down off the jumps} and also make it through in an allotted amount of time. When they finish that round, they stay in the arena and wait for the judge to blow her whistle again.

This time they’re judged on speed. The rider who makes it through the course “clean” and with the fastest time, wins! OH! and the kicker? If they make the first part of the class and are moved into the second part, the course is completely different! So in a split second, they have to refocus to ride a completely different course. Crazy.


Taylor had two jumper classes and got 2nd in her first class, and a 1st in her second class.

Given the 1st and 2nd the day before, she walked away as grand champion of those classes! She also won $50!

I could go on and on about how proud I am of Taylor and all the reasons why … but let’s just leave it at, I love seeing this girl grow in ways I never expected.

After a torrential downpour, Wynter’s classes came at the end of the day. She was back on her trusty ol’ lesson mount and she did much better this day! She took a 3rd, 3rd, and 3rd in her three classes. I suppose now might be a good time to mention my girl, who was born on 11.03.03, has a favorite number of … THREE! :)

And all isn’t lost for Wynter in the horse department! The same farm who had Poncho, had just brought in another pony from Florida. So while we were in the “wait, wait, wait” period of the show, we went over to give him a try. He seemed like a good little mount, so with our trainer’s help, we decided to bring him home for a trial run.

Currently, our bedtime prayers are that Wynter and “Spanky” make a good team this week and it works out that we can keep him. And MY bedtime prayer might be that we can change his name!

We’re missing one girl from the photo, but here’s our team below. Catherine, the girl’s amazing trainer, is next to Taylor.

Six girls … 34 ribbons! I’d say it was a great show!



Posted in riding, taylor, wynter

8 Jul

when you take a teen to france …

Two of my girls would be heading to summer camp … two down, two to go!

After many conversations with the seven-year-old, she decided she wanted to go to camp too. Piper and Wynter had friends they’d be going with, Hunter didn’t have any. But she bravely decided she would make friends while she was there.

And she did. With a bee. But that’s a different story!

Anyway. Since all three younger girls would be gone for a WHOLE week, that left Taylor and I with a week on our hands to play! I haven’t had but two days without my girls in over two years … so this momma was just a wee bit excited about the possibilities!

After we dropped the girls off at camp, we hightailed it to the airport. Taylor, Talley {tay’s bestie}, and I.

After one long flight, and a layover in Dusseldorf {say that ten times fast!}, we landed in Nice, France!


Exhausted, we made our way to the hotel, checked-in, freshened up {or not}, and set out to explore.

Exhausted after our exploration, I couldn’t have been happier to get into my pj’s and melt into this beautiful bed! I.was.out!

And I’m happy to announce … I slept for FIFTEEN hours!! 15 beautiful hours that I will cherish forever!

Unlike me, the teens did not sleep so well.

They were up, and slept, were up, and slept,

and slept,

and slept,

and slept …

and then for some reason got annoyed with my texts.

Go figure!

Eventually they did, in fact, finally wake up and we made our way to the beach.

A very rocky, crowded, but oh-so-beautiful beach!

In fact, we spent every day at this beach … you know, as soon as I could get the teens outta bed. Cuz that text message over there? It was an every day occurrence.

Seriously, how else was I supposed to get them up-and-at-em? Yeah, I coulda called their room, but for some reason I didn’t figure that one out until the last day we were there … leaving for the airport.

The good news is … this is where we spent most of our vacation. And it was blissful! The weather was beautiful, the scenery gorgeous, and the people watching … well, let’s just say it kept me entertained!

I love Europe. It’s a place I’ve always wanted to live. Not in a forever-kind-of-way. But definitely in a life-experience-kind-of-way! In fact, just yesterday the kids and I were playing “Would You Rather,” and the question was asked, “Would you rather live in Europe or in North America?” With no hesitation I answered, “Europe.”

There’s just something so magical and beautiful about the architecture, stores, restaurants, streets, and yes, even the entertaining people.

One night we decided channel our inner Selena Gomez Grace Kelly and head to Monte Carlo. I’m so glad we did it … definitely a fun treat!

And you know … cuz mommas rarely have proof they were on vacay, I needed to do a few obligatory selfies. What’s a mom to do?

A couple highlights of the trip were:

  • the fish spa! yes, fish spa. the fish munch at the dead skin on your tootsies, leaving it feeling soft as a baby’s bottom! for realz!
  • a pedicab ride! we had the most awesomesauciest driver around. he helped us make tourist fools of ourselves all through the old city of Nice. crazy fun!

I am soooo incredibly thankful I was able to take this trip with Taylor. Quite honestly, it wasn’t the mother-daughter dream trip I’d imagined … understandable with a friend along, and totally okay … I love Talley! she’s been a complete blessing to Taylor!

But you see … Taylor has been like my shadow for the last threeish years. She’s not had a close friend for most of her teens and I’ve pretty much been it for her.

Well … that’s all kinda changed. She has a “life” now and is out almost all of the time. I’m thrilled for her! She’s missed out on a lot over the last few years and it’s warms my heart to see her having fun and having friends.

But at the same time, I realize I’m kinda missing her. And I guess that all came full circle for me on this trip. Not in a bad way at all, just in a your-kid-is-18-now-and-momma-gotta-let-go-a-little way. :)

I love this girl so much. She means the world to me and I’m soaking in every spare minute she has left with me!

Posted in europe, taylor, vacation

29 Apr

taylor goes to prom …

Ready for a great big photo dump?!

Taylor went to her first prom … really her first big dance … a couple of weekends ago. It was so fun dress shopping, getting her hair and makeup done, and of course taking these photos of her and her boy!

I tried to grab a couple of shots as Taylor came out of her room all ready to go, but she was embarrassed and wouldn’t pose for me. Soooo, her ham-it-up boy decided to show her how it’s done.

In seriousness, these two have a lot of fun together. They’re playful, silly, and the sweetest two kids you’ll ever meet. Her boy, Travis has grown to be like a son to me.

I’m so proud of these two and love them with all my heart!

Posted in family photos, taylor