...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 This is the journey of our lives...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Catching up the last of 2009

Graham, Noah, Tanner Gracie, and Braxtyn

Graham, Tanner, Noah, Gracie and Braxtyn

Mr. Macho Man, Graham

Finally, he lost the other bottom tooth!

Our trip to the cabin in Young

Cozy and Grandpa at the cabin in Young.

Good friends and fun treats!

Noah's 7th Birthday and his army cake! My sweet boy, I can't believe he is 7 and in the 1st grade. He is so smart and loves to learn. He is very confident in his talents and abilities, I love that about him. He also very gentle and caring about other people and their needs. He reminds me very much of Daniel. His favorite hobby's this year are, riding his bike, soccer, baseball and riding Arlo. He loves to wear jeans and tennis shoes and is a VERY picky eater (reminds me of me, argh!!).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crunchy Posts - tips on saving money

Kristi calls me crunchy when I start posting this way, but I have to say that going the natural route can certainly help during these economically hard times.

-I'm back to cloth diapering, I got out of the habit when Braxtyn potty trained and then I waited with Cozette, using mainly chlorine free disposables. However, G-diapers have the best alternative. Amy Roberts, Debbie Main and myself have joined the many converts to the revolutionized 1/2 cloth, 1/2 disposable diaper. It doubles as an on- the- go, chlorine free disposable insert and then allows you to use a cloth insert while at home. Less washing and good for babies skin. You can even compost the wet disposable inserts. Anyhow, Cozy is sporting pink, orange, brown and cream cutie G-pants. It's a huge savings when you consider you will spend about $100 to diaper your child from 6 months to at least 18months and then another $50 from 18months until potty training. I think on disposables you can spend about $30-$40 per month. I just learned how to sew my own cloth inserts and will save tremendous amounts there too.

-It's gardening season, Any backyard can grow food! Gurneys.com has $25 off coupons for seed purchasing. If you compost your newspapers and coffee grounds you can plant right in it without having to churn up the soil. Send your husband fishing for fresh fish emulsion to mix into our dessert dirt for rich soil. Plant your lettuce and carrots now just cover if it gets frosty. Dig a small trench and throw a bag of organic potatoes into it, cover with compost and water, you will have a huge potato crop! drop your old fall pumpkins into the ground, add water and they will sprout right up!

-If you didn't already know, you can negotiate most all of your monthly bills. I was able to get free tivo and $10 off any programming package I chose for an entire year. I was even able to negotiate my trash service bill. Anything you pay monthly, start calling and see what they will do for you. It doesn't hurt to ask and it can only save you more money!

-Make your own bread its a fraction of the cost and if you can find a bread machine gently used it is well worth the time. I got my bread machine for $15
-Make waffles and freeze them so you can re-heat them. It's like Eggos but cheaper and better for you (stole this one from Belinda!)

Well that's all I have for today. Happy saving!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rose bowl parade (warning longest post ever)

The group at Gilbert Days Rodeo
Karin, Chantel , Kelly Jo, Brooke, Becca, Marjon, Taryn and Wylene

We left two days after Christmas at 4:00am in a large caravan to the L.A. Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA. We arrived Sunday around noon.What an amazing place! It's so beautiful and green. 100acres of horse property right in the middle of the city. Riding trails, about 10 different practice arenas filled each day with a different type of horse and riding style. A horse lover's eye candy! Our horses were all kept in barns that were decorated with our signs and pictures displaying our groups purpose and riders. Right behind us were the Budweiser draft horses and their five semi trucks! There were Arabians, 19 hand Percherons, drafts, mini's, Walkers, Paso Finos, it was an amazing display of the horse. After unpacking horses and parking the large horse trailers and RVs we headed out for a riding practice in the equidome. We only had limited time to run through our drill before Tuesday's event. Right after our two hour practice, cool down and feeding and blanketing horses, we met in the parking area to learn a few line dances for the Equestrian reception on Monday evening. I had learned earlier on that CHF was expected to perform line dances and get the party going! Ha! They had a lot of work to do to teach me all the dance steps. Monday was an early day of more riding practice, and dance practice, washing horses, cleaning tack all the while I was leaving each thing to run to the trailer to feed Cozette, my mom patiently kept her busy during my absence and she was able to come and watch most practices. Thankfully the other girls didn't mind cooling down my horse and sometimes unsaddling him for me. Monday night was a whirlwind of getting dressed up and heading to the reception. It was a party for about 800 people, in a large white tent with huge TV screens in the ceiling displaying last years riding groups and parade. And then of course our dance team leader, Nicole, called us up to get everyone dancing. This year everyone expected it and it was pretty funny!

Yes, here I am doing the some kind of line shuffle! LOL!
That night our group was picked up by RFD-TV as our main sponsor! I guess the dancing was worth it!
Tuesday was an early start, we had to saddle the horses for our performance in EquestFest.

There were people lined up around the entrance waiting to get in, I don't think I've ever performed in front of so many people! Our entrance was super fast, I think due to nerves and noise level we finished our drill without a hitch and a little ahead of schedule. The crowd was great and although the announcer messed up our script no one seemed to mind. Afterwords we went to the barns to talk to the crowd and took pictures and signed calendars. One thing I love about our group is that we were the only ones who took the time to really talk to the kids that were there.

After Equestfest we were able to have dinner together and rest a bit.
Wednesday was a free day and we headed to Venice Beach to see Uncle Bill, Aunt Mary and my cousin Stacy. Ride and just enjoy the journey.

Thursday was of course another early day, we had roses to put together. We had to put all the roses on the mane and tail bows for the following day. We had a luncheon and safety meeting about the parade. We had to shine silver saddles, fit them to the horses and us, wash them, braid manes and tails and get some riding in so they were nice and tired for the big day. Thursday was a great surprise for me. Daniel, and the kids showed up to see me! It was perfect because I was really ready to go home. My mom and I were getting colds and just plain tired from everything. So when He and the kids arrived it was so perfect. he won the best husband award! However, at 9pm that night we were all leaving to go to the Parade line up and he had to stay back at the Equestrian Center to wait until the next morning to come and meet up with us at the end of the parade route. But the cool thing is, the kids were able to see the parade and the behind the scenes of it all.
Thursday night took the cake on stress levels, we arrived at the freeway under pass about 10pm all three live-in horse trailers and two RVs, we joined other groups our size and bigger, lining up under a freeway overpass. The Parade shuts down half of the freeway and allows all the equestrian groups to park there overnight. They light up the freeway with huge lights and direct us to our spots. Parade personnel wear white jumpers and helmets and ride on little white scooters. Emergency parade personnel wear red helmets an ride red scooters. Imagine, over a hundred horse trailers filled with horses, on a closed down freeway with huge lights beaming and little white suited men on motor-scooters driving round everywhere, all the while the rest of the freeway is going all around you. Not to mention the bums sleeping here and there. We can't unload the horses so they sleep in the trailers with us, snorting and kicking and squealing at each other. We Aced,(legally drugged) over half of them to keep them calm. And then you are supposed to sleep until about 4am. Yes, the baby was with me and we were trying to keep her asleep during all this. Cozette did amazingly well. At 4 am, all of our handlers got up and started getting horses groomed, sparkled and saddled. Us girls, primped and curled and painted ourselves as well. We then got in our outfits and climbed on very excited horses waiting to be picked up by our white suited, scooter riding parade guide by 7:00am.And then it begins..the long ride to the start of the parade. It took about 2 hours to just reach our starting point and when we arrived it was snaking along the main street and we were guided into our position, as were the bands on a street above us, this allowed the floats to travel South and Equestrian groups and marching bands enter from streets facing East. As soon as we entered the main street there were people everywhere. As we turned the corner it was like being assaulted by paparazzi! Three story buildings were covered in cameramen and then the street was covered by huge cameras of every different TV station, even China. You don't know where to look and smile because the crowd is yelling at you to look at them too! 6 miles of over a million people who camped out over night to see the parade, people yelling for their team to win the Rose bowl game and asking you where your from. I think we said Happy New year until our throats were dry. It was the most intense and exciting event I've ever been a part of. I'm so thankful I was privileged enough to step in the shoes of Grandma and Grandpa Morris, who took that same path in the 1950's. It was a special feeling to be a part of 2010 in that way. I'll never forget it.In Loving Memory of Earl and Evelyn Morris.

Thank you, thank you
Daniel, Noah, Graham, Braxtyn and Cozette!
Dad and mom for your time and energy to make this a great week
Josh for sponsoring me and helping to make this a reality.

You'd think I won an award, I just had to document this occasion to remember all the great details!