Friday, October 22, 2010

Cowgirls Don't Cry...Much

Last weekend we visited my sister, Amy and her husband, Clint. They live in our state, but 3.5 hours away, so we don't get out there as much as we should. Odd because it's really my favorite vacation. There's no stress, no one expects you to be entertaining or show up anywhere at a certain time, and there's even electricity (in contrast to our last vacation).

It's been so long since our last visit, that it was all new to Kate; dogs, horses and all. (Including ours, there were 4 dogs, 2 horses, 1 pony and an indeterminate amount of cats. They hide while we are there, so I'm never sure.) We picked a good weekend to visit. On Saturday we went to the Van Wert Apple Festival, one of those nice, small town fair events with crafters, homemade food and a barrel train. What, you've never seen a barrel train before?

Don't worry, I'd never seen one either. There were about 8 barrels with seats and seat belts installed and pulled by a lawn mower. The guy just put out a donations jar, and took kids all around the fair grounds. My kid was in heaven. There was no yarn or fiber to buy, but I did pick up a cool new purse made from a rag rug. Really.

On Sunday, we went to the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo for their Halloween event. Kate got to trick-or-treat, see some of the animals, and pick out a pumpkin to take home. The animals who were not on display due to the cold, were replaced by some lifelike doubles:

They are made from gourds, pumpkins, cornstalks and some rebar. Somebody worked really hard at it. There was a giraffe, an awesome peacock and some crowned cranes that we spent about three full minutes admiring without noticing the live versions walking around behind them. Oops. They also had a corn and hay bale maze. Kate and I worked our way through the cornstalk maze together and then she made it to the center of the short maze all on her own. She was so proud.

Daddy also attempted a death-defying stunt:

Don't worry, he survived. Then Kate found an old friend:

We have taken her picture with this distinguished gentleman every year at the Cleveland Zoo. It was some kind of surprise to find him visiting Fort Wayne at the same time as us. I had to laugh as other families tried to convince their kids to sit with him, and tried to show them where to be, and Kate just scampered up there and parked herself right where she belonged.

So the apple festival and the zoo were really fun, but the highlight of the weekend was really in the barn:

My sister and her husband purchase this little guy, named Booger (Clint has an interesting sense of humor) for his nephew, Kale, to ride. Kale is 3 and generally wants to get down after 10 minutes or so. Clint put Kate up there and started walking around the barn and I had to tell him that she wasn't going to ask him to stop. If he was waiting for her to be done, he'd be walking all night. And Clint was more than happy to walk most of the evening. **Brace yourself, I'm about to brag on my kid** So we put Kate's hands on the saddle horn and told her to hang on tight. After a few rounds, Booger did a little pony dance and Kate came out of the saddle. I looked up to see my kid hanging off the side of him like a little leech. She would NOT let go. Clint grabbed her up and brought her over to us. She had a scrape on her belly and was crying a little. I made sure she was OK and said the classic line, "Now, if you want to be a real cowgirl, you need to get back on and ride some more." And guess what, she DID. I'm beyond proud. Seriously, I'm convinced this is one of the defining moments of my parenting life. My kid literally, not figuratively, climbed back on the horse that bucked her off. She might turn out OK after all.

And in the same "learning experience" vein, Kate also paid for her ride each night by helping Uncle Clint scoop the horse poop. Here she is with Kale carrying the bucket from pile to pile.

So we all enjoyed the weekend immensely, aside from Karl who had some trouble working out which of the dogs was in charge and whose butt he should not sniff. (oooh TMI?)

On Monday, before we left, Amy took us to the Children's Garden she has helped create. Trust me, it needs it own blog entry. Stay tuned.


Diana said...

Wow, what a fabulous weekend! I'm really proud of Kate too - she's a great kid.


Anonymous said...

wow, way to go Kate! (Sorry to be late in reading these entries)

Louise said...

Great Blog!Amy is a great MG, not afraid to work. Love her. Your are a great writer.