Saturday, February 25, 2017

Samuel's 6th birthday

Samuel's sixth birthday happened to fall on a Wednesday and one for which we had out of the ordinary school day plans. Usually the kids get the day off for their birthdays if it falls during the week but everyone got this day off. 

The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo was in town for the week and I had planned for us to attend Kids Take Stock at the Civic Center, an tour of educational kids booths. When we arrived we had to wait for the public school kids to finish but when they were gone it was a pleasantly smaller group of homeschoolers left. First off we learned about soil. Amanda, Denise, and Paul were there so the kids had a great time with all their friends.

This inflated arch was incredibly loud. I felt bad for the two ladies who had to practically shout over it.

Next we learned about spinning wool into thread. I have actually know the middle spinner since I had a wee little girl. My mom shares a booth with her every summer at the fair for her basket weaving. 

Following that was an exhibition about pine beetles. Very interesting, for me at least. Ha ha.

Second to last was a table about eggs. We thought the ostrich egg on the end was pretty awesome. 

Last was a spinning wheel of true or false facts about sunflowers presented by the kids piano teacher Miss Kathy. 

From there we drove up town and met daddy at McDonalds, Samuel's choice for lunch.

I didn't want to go home yet since it was so nice to be out of the house so we went downtown to hang out at Who's Toy Store. And since I had never visited before, we went down the hall Mitzi's Book Store. Quite cute!

When we got home I snapped a photo for a social media happy birthday shout out.  

Since that evening was Awana and Youth Group we didn't celebrate with cake and presents until the following night. I made Samuel's favorite "black cake." 

My folks, Shari, Jesse, and the girls came over to celebrate. We sang happy birthday to Samuel and Grace since they were born only two days apart, and for Jesse too who has a January birthday. 

Samuel's turn to blow. 

And Grace's.

Gift time. Grace first opened up the card Evie made for her. 

There are my folks. Proof! It seems pretty incredible that Samuel is already six. I remember when Noah turned six! It doesn't seem possible that Samuel is so big and yet it feels like there are endless years until they're grown. We just keep trucking along. The days are long and the years are short.

The following night we had another beautiful sunset. They seem to have been so infrequent this winter! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

winning the Stick Horse Rodeo

On the last Saturday of January, Samuel and Ezra participated in the Stock Show's World's Smallest Rodeo Stick Horse competition. 

We are not cowboys in this family (despite going to Rainbow Bible Ranch every summer), but Terry's folks are ranchers. It was them who saw an ad in the paper about the Stick Horse Rodeo and thought it would be great for the grandkids, Samuel, Ezra, Grace, and Sarah. They were right!

So Terry took in all of their registrations and Evie got the boys all wrangled together to do some stick horse rodeo practicing. That girl is seriously amazing. Mommy doesn't do this stuff but the eight year old daughter does. Wow.

So we arrived at the Civic Center, the kids picked out their stick horses, and everyone got in line. The kids were exactly like cattle in the shoots leading to the corral. Ha!

Next the rodeo queens were introduced followed by the three different age groups of kids. Samuel and Grace were just barely still five years old and so able to participate. 

Three year old Ezra. Sarah was nearby but I don't think I got a picture of her. Notice how we only had one cowboy dress up costume and Samuel got it since it was his. Ha ha, poor Ezra, maybe next year.

The kids first competed in pole bending. Samuel and Grace below:

Ezra and Sarah

Next came barrel racing.

Ezra followed his little rodeo queen around the barrels.

Samuel's video:

Ezra's race:

In the end they let the kids just ride wild in the corral. It was adorable and looked like so much fun.


Ezra and Samuel. Grace was there too but Sarah had ducked out for this part. I guess she had enough.

There's the whole wild horse ride.

Afterwards we were so surprised to hear Samuel's number called as the winner for the 5 year old boy group! Shortly thereafter we were approached by a reporter wanting an interview with Samuel and one of us! Whoa.

This cute little reporter pulled Samuel and Terry over to a quieter area and I stood at a distance observing. All I really saw was her asking Samuel questions to which he shrugged his shoulders in answer to. Inwardly I cringed a little. I wondered if she would be able to piece together any actual words from him!

We were very pleasantly surprised when we watched the piece on the 9 o'clock news that evening. Samuel did fantastic! He was so cute!

Here is the actual transcript of the aired piece and video:

The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo continues, and on Saturday children showed off their stick horse skills.
Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim takes us to the World's Smallest Rodeo.
At the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, children from three to five years old showed how well they could handle stick horses.
First they zoomed through pole bending and dashed through barrel racing.
Then they finished the rodeo off with a wild horse ride.
Four-year-old Emsley Whittington participated in the World's Smallest Rodeo last year and prepped for the big day with some shopping.
Emsley Whittington says, "Buy new boots yesterday and eat breakfast."
Some kids did some nose dives, but most of them just enjoyed themselves and got back up.
Samuel B. won the five-year-old category for boys and says his favorite event was the wild horse ride.
Samuel B. says, "I like that one, but I fell once. I fell once, but I just got back up and ran."
Samuel's father Terry B. is proud of his son's win, but at first he was unsure how he would do.
Terry B. says, "We were a little unsure how he would do because he's never been in something like this and we didn't know if he'd want to participate, but he got into it and did really great."
Emsley's grandfather Dave Whittington enjoys seeing the kids have fun and says they all had different "riding" styles.
Dave Whittington says, "It's a lot of fun. It's exciting to see different kids do it a little bit differently. Some look like they've practiced a lot and others it may be their first time on a stick horse."
B. says his son was actually able to get some practice in beforehand.
Terry B. says, "The day that he found out, his sister actually set up a little course for him and his younger brother. They both were in it today and so she made them practice barrel racing and stuff like that. They got really pumped up right away when they found out that they were going to do it so they had a little practice."
Youth Rodeo Queens were on-hand to help the rodeo contestants.
And there was a boy winner and a girl winner in each age category.
The Stock Show started on Friday and will go on until February 5th.
Katrina Lim, Black Hills FOX News.

Samuel won a little gift certificate for a free pair of jeans or shirt. What a fun, fantastic day it turned out to be!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Buzzards Roost hike

About three weeks ago it became pretty essential that we get outside despite the cold weather and abundant snow on the ground. The winter gets so long! We decided to hike Buzzards Roost just west of town. Having never ever hiked there before (crazy right?!), we got confused where we were going and first started west on Nemo Road. Derp, it was up Highway 44. So after a longer drive than was planned we finally made it...and Luna promptly puked on the back seat. She's not used to car rides yet! Plus Evie had her covered up with blankets in the very back of the van so she was hot and carsick.

Here the kids were just starting to climb the trail. It was all up for a mile or so.

I was worried about Luna's little feet on the snow for such an extended amount of time, so we held her periodically. She was totally fine though.

Terry was checking our position on his new hiking map. 

Noah entertained himself. 

Further down the line of little trees. 

When we came to a fork we took the right trail hoping it wasn't as steep. We were so wrong.  

It was incredibly steep! I had to hold Ezra's hand and pull him over the icy spots. You can see Noah further up the trail toiling away towards the sun.  

Taking a break. Phew! So tired and sweaty! Perfect!! 

The top of the hill was more of a flat plain ringed with trees and we couldn't see the view we were hoping for. Terry and the kids continued east on the path while I wondered into the trees and discovered this South Rim trail that followed the top of the ridge. So incredibly beautiful!

Man, I needed this. I need it again. Really, weekly or daily adventures outside would help me to cope with life so much better. 

Terry and the kids were not far away and I called them over to take in the view. 


I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love living here! 

Selfie smelfie time. I was only eight days post Lasix surgery and it felt great to not be wearing contacts or glasses. 

Me and him :D 

Heading away from the ridge. :(

We headed down the left hand path that we avoided at the fork. It was probably good we did since it was a lot longer than the steeper hill we climbed. It would have been amazing to sled down.

Jumping off a rock near the bottom. 

Running to the van. 

Noah won :D Luna's first hike was successful!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

youth leader Christmas party 2015/16

On January 20th, we had our thrice rescheduled youth leader Christmas party. I made some brickle bites for the occasion (poor man's toffee anyone?). Rarely have these ever come off the pan in one sheet so we had to get a picture of it. Ha!

We had so many people that couldn't come but still our living room was absolutely packed!

You can see the small pile of gifts there to the left. We exchanged socks and candy after playing a version of Two Truths and a Lie where you had to guess whose truth was being read out. Fun times!

The couch crew, Rob, Ed, Sue, Allison, and Natasha.

Stephanie, Martin (and their adorable baby!!), Kristen, and Jordyn.  

Russ side-eyeing me. ;)

Frannie insisted on taking my photo. This was only the second night after my Lasix surgery and I remember my eyes were pretty darn irritated, but hey, no glasses!

Natasha stole my phone and took some gems of she and Allison.

A true cat lover, I thought her shirt was hilarious. 

Emma enjoying that baby. Dawww!

This is my favorite shot from the night. Ed is so happy with his socks!!