Sunday, June 22, 2008

Strawberry Fields Forever

Thursday Matt worked 1/2 day and by 2:00 we were packed, loaded, and headed up in the mountains for the weekend. There is an endurance race every year that Matt goes and works at as a veterinarian and that is what we were doing. It is called Strawberry Fields Forever Endurance Ride. We got our camp set up Thursday afternoon and then Matt left us to go check in horses. We camped less than a mile away from the big horse camp, so that was nice and convenient.

While Matt was being a vet, the girls and I went on a killer hike. Kendal is such trouper, she just goes and goes. After we got back from our hike we gathered firewood and I got out some of my nerdy books for the girls to look at while we rested. I have a book about identifying insects and one on trees - both with great pictures. The girls LOVED the books. Here they are, both of them reading and looking at the pictures. I bet we read about trees and bugs for a good hour waiting for Matt to come back for dinner.

I was wishing I had brought my plant book so I could tell Kelsey the name of this flower. I knew most of them, but this one escaped me. No matter, it made a pretty bouquet.

When Matt got back to camp Thursday night, we ate dinner and of course did marshmallows and smores. It was a super evening. That all ended at bed time. I so love that we had the longest day of the year, but for camping it was a little rough, plus the full moon didn't help. It was 9:08 and Matt said "I am beat, I am headed to bed." I thought to myself "Oh dear, it is not even dark yet. These girls are not going to go to sleep for at least an hour and just waller (that is a great word) around until it gets dark." That is exactly what happened. When Matt went into the tent, so did the girls. When Matt crawled into his bag, so did the girls. The problem was that Kendal crawled into everyone's bag about 12 times a piece, no joke, just squealing and laughing all the while. By the time 10:10 rolled around, Matt was quietly snoring, Kelsey was quiet, and Kendal was in in my bag with me, kicking off the covers and saying "mama, mama, mama" as she grinned her evil little mischeivious grin. There was no way she was getting in her own bag, she had been in and out of Kelsey's bag a few times and landed with me. Motherhood is amazing. They love us so much!

Friday evening, we ate dinner with the entire horse endurance folks crew. Let me tell you a little endurance ride story. Friday morning Matt woke up at 6:00 and left camp to go "vet in" horses for the day. At around 7:00 about 50 horses and riders left on a 50 mile endurance race. A little later, another 50 riders and horses left camp for a 25 mile endurance race. Matt's job as a vet was to make sure the horses were fit enough to go on the race/ride and then also to do what is called a "vet check" on the horses along the way. I think the 25 milers only have 1 vet check along the way. Matt checks the horses for lameness, heart rate, gut noises (colic), and a few other things that I don't really know. At most of the vet checks, the riders and horses are required to take a 1/2 hour break or so before they can finish the race. All the riders and horses are timed when they come to a vet check and are timed as they leave to make it a fair race. The 50 milers have more vet checks and longer wait times. It is amazing to me that most of these riders finish the race in just hours. It would take me and my old Roxy horse a few days to ride 50 miles! Okay, moving on now.
Friday after the race, everyone ate dinner together and they gave out prizes for best time, best condition (of the horse), and more awards. When this was all over, Matt and the girls loaded up in the truck and went back to our camp. I was right behind them in the car. I stopped to get this picture of the enormity of the horse camp and was promptly told by two ladies out walking their horses that I had a flat tire. This picture does no justice by the way.

A MAJOR flat tire and my muscle man just drove off down the road. It was getting late and it would be dark in an hour and I knew that it would take me just an hour to man handle that thing in my trunk called a jack because it is such a piece. So I decided I would do what I HATE to do, run to camp. One of the ladies kindly offered me the use of her horse that had no saddle, only a halter and a leadrope, and is used to running for 50 miles straight. I declined.
I was so impressed with myself. I ran all the way back to camp (.7 miles) without peeing my pants. This is a big deal just so you all know. My lungs were fine, my legs were fine, my heart was fine, I was worried about my bladder. So I got to camp and shared the bad news. Matt was so nice, truly. He did wonder however how I had managed to drive so far without knowing I had a flat tire. No comment here.

After Matt changed the tire, we still had a little time left to roast marshmallows before we headed to bed. I wrestled all night with Kendal again and made that little crick in my back a little worse with the sleeping bag nazi child. Kelsey had spent the entire day Friday with Matt helping him with the horses. She loved it and had a super time. We all truly had a super time.

I told Matt Friday night as he was getting into bed and had lit the lantern, to make a cool silhouette for me. I missed the good one. You guys would have been proud of our sweet little Matt.

Saturday morning I woke up early and laid in bed for about an hour after Matt had left, wondering what I was going to tell the Les Schwab guy. I was so mortified by the tire that I had mutilated I was afraid they might revoke my drivers licence! So instead of stewing about it, I got the girls out of their warm sleeping bags and into the car, donut tire and all, and went straight into town to Les Schwab. We stunk, we were dirty, in PJs, and all was well. I was afraid I would have to get a new rim, but I didn't thankfully and I actually had some mileage left on the warrantied tire, so I only had to pay $40 for a new tire and they didn't even flinch when they took this beauty out of the trunk!

After the tire ordeal was over, we went home, showered and went to my neighbor's wedding. I will post about that tomorrow. Saturday evening we returned to the horse camp and Kelsey met up with one of her new friends, Terry, who took her on a little ride. Apparently Kelsey was Miss Social on Friday and made quite a few fun friends throughout the day.

Kendal loved all the horses and could hardly contain herself from crawling into all the pens with them. With over 100 horses, we were looking out for our little dare devil pretty closely. Oh, I forgot to mention that all of these endurance racers/riders wake up and do it again the next day! Most riders raced on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I think I would be so saddle sore that I wouldn't be able to function. Imagine 150 miles in 3 days on a horse, with hours and hours of spare down time!

Saturday evening after another awards dinner, we all walked down to the river where I had taken the girls earlier to throw rocks into the river. Kendal took this adventure very seriously and we had to pry rocks out of her little hands when it was time to leave. It was a pretty evening and the sound of the water was wonderful.

This is my sweet Kelsey smelling a plant. She has learned about mint and how you can pick a leaf and put it in your mouth for a sweet, minty sensation. On our walk to the river I walked by some stinging nettle and my leg was on fire. I told Kelsey that stinging nettle and mint look sort of alike so she needed to smell the plant she thought was mint to make sure it really wasn't stinging nettle before she put leaves into her mouth. This is Kelsey smelling the mint, just to make sure.

And into the mouth it goes.

Kendal really liked the splash the rocks made when they hit the water. She was almost mesmerized by the river and wanted to stay so badly.
Kendal and I came home Saturday night, had a shower and slept in our own beds, ALONE! Matt and Kelsey stayed up on Sunday for the last day of the ride and did the vet thing. Kelsey told me how much fun she had with her new friends, she even got email addresses (she is only 6!), how very helpful she was to her dad and how he couldn't do it without her, how much she loves horses, and how good she slept Saturday night without Kendal bothering her.
It was a wonderful weekend. I am so glad that we are so close to the great outdoors and that we get to play in the mountains. Last year at this time we didn't know Kendal's prognosis with her seizures, we were doing blood pressures twice a day at the ER, shots of nasty ACTH twice a day, and we didn't hear a sound from her unless she was rattling her high chair because she was hungry, which was always, or she was crying. How very blessed we are.


mindy said...

That is the coolest trip ever! how cool for the girls that they have awesome parents that teach them cool things and take the time to let them come along. Kelsey will know so much about animals she'll be the 16 year old whiz kid applying for colleges across the country!

Tori said...

Looks like you guys had a great time! Your girls are growing up so fast! I agree with Mindy about Kelsey being a whiz kid-she has such curiosity and that fact that between you and Matt-you can actually answer her questions is awesome!

ourhaskellfamily said...

Your trip looks like such fun family bonding. I hope you guys are in torrey for the 5th. Then you can teach my kids too!

Lindsay said...

How fun!! Every time I see pictures of Matt, I can't help but realize how much he and Joe are alike...right down to the plaid shirt and khakis! It also seems that all of our family adventures usually include some kind of flat tire type story. I can so relate!! I'm glad that you all had a great time!!

Camille said...

Wow! How I miss the mountains and aspen trees. You guys are so lucky. What a fun trip!

mindy said...

Oh yeah and what the hell did you do to that tire? It looks like someone used it for target practice. By any chance were there guns around? You know cowboys...guns...they usually follow each other.

Adree said...

what a fun weekend!!

LeEllen said...

What fun, to be able to play with such wonderful and smart kids in such beautiful country (oh, yeah Matt ain't bad got it made, cuz!

Jenny said...

I think Kendal would rather live out camping than in a house! TRUELY... Anyway fun times, glad that you didn't do that to more than one tire. I love your nerdy books BTW.

Krista said...

What a great trip for you and your girls. They are going to grow up knowing how to do everything!
Sorry about the tire...I can't believe how awful it looked!
BTW...You are looking super skinny! How are you doing it!

Anonymous said...

Krista, the trick is to hide yourself with your children in front of you and smile like you weigh 123 pounds, that has been my workout routine!

Mindy, you made Matt laugh until he almost fell off the chair!


Grama36 said...

What a fun time you had. I remember camping with our kids when they were young. We didn't have horses tho. Living here in the Black Hills is great and beautiful but not like the Mountains of Utah!!!! I miss them.. What beautiful girls you have..

Jenn said...

What a cool event! That would be a great trip.


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