Friday, June 27

pony camp

ellie and jack attended pony camp this week.

all of ellie's horse fantasies came true.
she kept a journal each day so she could share her experience with grandma linda, her horse-loving-buddy. it was so sweet, i wanted to make sure we had a copy of it forever so that's why i've put it on the blog.

Day 1:
I rode a horse named Ginger. And after that I rode on two ponies. One of the ponies was black and his name is Chocolate Chip and we call him Chip. The other is white with gray spots and her name is Sky. I got to stand while Sky was trotting and it was so tricky! We used English style saddles instead of Western. Ginger was the biggest horse and is my favorite. I wish she was my horse. I had to use a stool to get on Ginger because she is so tall. We also got to brush the horses and I even got to braid Chip's mane. We painted picture frames with horses on them at the end of the day. I can't wait for tomorrow!

(That's Ginger on the left, Sky in the middle, and Chip on the right)

Day 2:
Today I zigzagged through an obstacle course on my horse named Pintail. I was going really fast, but not too fast. Pintail's mane was light brown and his body was white with big light brown spots. I liked Pintail but I still love Ginger. For our craft, I spray painted a horseshoe pink and light blue. Something funny that happened today was when the goat, Emma, used her horns to push a bucket over while a girl was sitting on it! We fed the horses lots of straw. They also like to eat apples, oats and bread. There are a bunch of dogs, like six, at the farm. I'm glad I'm not afraid of them anymore. My favorite one is small and is white with brown spots.

(ellie and ginger)

(ellie brushing bubbles)

(jack and chip, while chip's being fitted for new shoes)

Day 3:
Today we got to go over a jump! We rode on the white pony, Sky, for the jumps. One of our teacher's daughters rode on the horse with us when we jumped because they know how to do it. I liked it. Jack really liked it and the teacher told him he could try it by himself tomorrow.

Day 4:
I love to feed the horses. I rode on a white horse with blue eyes today. Her name is Haddie. I was scared of her at first because her eyes weren't dark like the other horses, but now I love her. She likes me cause I feed her straw and pet her. When I finished feeding her, she kept following me! It was like she was saying "I want more! Give me more straw to eat!". When she saw that I didn't have more straw she finally stopped following me and blew a loud snort through her nose! We got to paint little bags with horses today and decorate them with jewels. Jack got to do the jumps by himself. He fell off the first time because Sky stopped after she jumped and he flew right off her. But he did it a few more times and told Sky to keep going after the jump so he wouldn't fall again.

(jack jumping with sky)

Day 5:
We got to do races today because it was the last day of pony camp. A girl won a gold medal. I got to trot all by myself on a pony called Daisy. I got to brush her mane too. I like to trot more than jump.  I'm so excited and amazed I got to go to pony camp and I'm sad that it's over. I'm going to miss my favorite dog and also Sky. I wish we could have ridden on Ginger more than just the first two days. I love that horses are so smart. 

she was in complete heaven. jack wasn't too excited in the beginning, but after the first day, he was hooked! at the end of the week, the instructor pulled me aside and asked if we'd be interested in private lessons for jack because "he's built for this and is ready to start competing". 
oh boy! this kid! 
i kept asking about ellie because she's the horse lover here after all, but she told me that ellie just isn't quite strong enough yet. honestly, ellie is more interested in having a horse as a best friend right now to talk to and tell secrets with and brush it and braid its mane. but still. it kind of broke my heart for her. we will just have to wait and see what the future holds i guess. all this talk of jack and horses though reminded me of his preschool graduation, when he announced to the world that he is going to be a jockey when he grows up. so funny and so unexpected. heres the link to the video from june 2012 if you'd like a good laugh!
as if this week couldn't get any better, all three kids faced their fear of dogs and hopefully have conquered it! 
if only we could conquer all of the horse, dog, and goat poop that has accumulated on our shoes and in our car over the week....


when you think of summer, you think of warm lazy days spent next to a pool, eating popsicles and watermelon. but somehow, summer schedules seem to go into overdrive and get busier and busier the older these kids get. so fun in a lot of ways and so not fun at the same time :)

jack and ellie's first week out of school was spent at tennis camp! they went for a couple hours each morning with their friends Jenna, Dani, Miles, and Lillie. while they were at camp, charlie was taking swim lessons with his buddy brynn at the pool that is literally right across the parking lot.

to say they loved tennis would be an understatement! 

we were rained out twice, so for two days they took two lessons back to back, which was definitely not enough for these two- they'd come home and play tennis in front of the house for another hour or two.

ellie especially liked it and said after the first day "THIS is MY sport!"

ellie won the camper of the day award one of the days!

so glad they get to try new things and experience all the fun of being a kid!

we have spent several afternoons exploring the various public pools and water parks around here, which has been fun... but a little weird paying to go to the pool since we never had to do that in florida. oh well. the kids said that its been too long since they've been able to swim and i agree. it feels so good to be back in the water. 

the week after tennis camp, all three kiddos took swim lessons.
jack and ellie did great and charlie did too. he's still using a floatie on his back that they call a bubble, but he's doing really well. and he loves his bubble so much, he even brings it to bed with him :)

on the last day, all the kids have to jump off the diving board. if they don't jump, they get tossed. ellie was SO NERVOUS. she wasn't sure if she could swim all the way to the side, but she did!

i thought charlie would freak and have to be tossed, but he jumped on his own!

btw, that is NOT christopher wearing a speedo on the diving board. he is an amazing swim coach from New Zealand... that makes the speedo ok, right?
like usual, jack's coach said he needs to join the swim team and start competing, which got him very excited. is there anything this kid can't do??? he loves to swim.

when we aren't at the pool or at camp, we've been doing other things to keep cool.

we went to the rodeo one night and saw some very interesting outfits

we went bowling because we signed up for the free kids bowling thing they have here.
this picture is terrible, but i love how excited charlie is to see his ball rolling down the lane!

and we even went to see some monster trucks

charlie loved his first corn dog experience!

ellie and chris went to a daddy daughter dance they had at church and had a great time. 

ellie asked chris to practice dancing with her a few nights before the dance so they'd be ready. it was pretty sweet. she wanted to buy a new dress (more like a ball gown) because "all the girls are getting dresses", but i just couldn't do it. instead we picked up a pair of fancy gloves at the mall for $6 and she thought they were perfect! then right before the dance, daddy surprised her with some pearls to wear. what a great dad.

she's pretty darn cute, if i say so myself!
they played and danced the night away and then ended their date with a strawberry shortcake sundae at the local ice cream place called Braum's. she's still talking about her date with daddy.

memorial day, a baseball game, and nerds

we were so happy that chris had memorial day off so we could spend the day together as a family doing special things.

we started the day off with a trip to the US national cemetery.
it was very humbling.

jack and ellie seemed to be very touched by all of the Unknown Soldiers that are buried there. jack has a special spot in his heart for the military and even hopes to be able to serve when he is older, so he was especially saddened that these soldiers were "lost" to their families.

they tried to find headstones with either their name or their birthdate.

and charlie was a scamp, stealing flags and playing hide and seek.

we saw several men in uniform visiting graves. it was so heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time.

afterwards we went for a little hike and then headed home for smores. it was a wonderful memorial day.

 the end of may brought the end of the school year, which was officially over on june 4th. right before school was out, the first graders took a field trip up north to watch a Naturals baseball game. chris was able to chaperone, which jack thought was AWESOME.

chris raced an old man for a foul ball. in the end, because chris didn't want to bulldoze him, the old timer got to it first, but gave the ball to jack. he thought it was pretty cool and was able to get the mascots signatures. 

the kids were sad to leave their great teachers, but are so happy its summer! they both one awards on the last day:
jack got something called that Patriot Award for straight a's and good behavior and ellie won the Nerd Award for academic excellence.

and if charlie could win an award, 
it would be the Cutest Buns Award.

Rikki, oh Rikki

i know lots of people think they have the best sister in the world and the truth is, they just don't. that's because i do. she is the best sister in the world and that is a fact.

sweet rik came out to visit us while chris was in utah and MAN, was it so good to see her!!!

we rode trains, went to see the gallows and other historic sites, were serenaded by jack, went out to eat, and stayed up late enjoying each others company. the kids miss her every single day and charlie keeps asking me if rik can be in arkansas again soon. sometimes its tough being away from our families. and sometimes i wonder why we made the move. i know it will be worth it to have our student loans paid off and we are meeting lots of fantastic people, but sometimes you just need to be around your family, you know? 
 thanks for making the trip rik. you are so loved.