11 September, 2012

We're Moving!

That's right!

Ha. Just the blog.

Mike and I don't actually know where we're going (yes. still. I know. Please stop asking).

I'm hoping that the work that I've done over at the new site makes life a little bit easier for all of us. WordPress is pretty user friendly, and I re-vamped the whole look. I've gotten a couple complaints that you can't comment here without going through a whole song and dance. I can't ever get my pictures to look reasonable, even manipulating them on LiveWriter, and I wasn't happy with the multiple layouts I 'tried on', even after I customized them to death.

I've transferred all my old posts from here, so all the good stuff is still around. 

A negative? The X Halt Salute title is taken! Big poo on that.

I have been thinking about going into business for myself when we move away from here. I'm not comfortable doing more than teaching up-down lessons while I'm still with B, however, Mike and I have meetings with tax/insurance companies to start us on the path. If anybody has any advice, let me know :).

I do want to start taking advatage of our nomadic lifestyle to make horsey contacts all over the country and offer baby/greenie starting services, sales, and lessons/coaching.

I wanted to use this site to incorporate the name of the business, which we're planning to be Forever After (fill-in-the-blank...we're still very much a 'work in progress)

SO. Without further ado, please mosey on over to....

*** I'm going to leave this post up for sometime, but comments will be disabled. Eventually this site will be no more, so that somebody who may want to use the domain name can have it!***

10 September, 2012

Nothing New.

Not much around here has been going on. We're starting to really enjoy the cool weather that has set in.

Shannon and I had a great weekend, while Mike had a work BBQ to attend and a leaky pipe in our ceiling to fix.

I was so bummed that I couldn't go to the BBQ, but the weather was due to get really bad. Babies, hail, and tornado warnings just don't mix in my mind.

We went to Costco with Nana, where I came home with 5lbs of baking soda, a giant bag of veggie sticks, and some of those mexican chicken wraps. Costco does weird things to your brain.

Shannon spent 3/4 of the trip hanging over the cart handle, screaming at people who didn't pay her enough attention and the other 1/4 testing out the samples with me. Who doesn't love sample day at Costco?!

After Nana, Shannon, and I ate our way through Costco, we stopped for lunch at a sweet little diner in town. It was a great girl's day!

That's really about it. Exciting lives we lead, right?

Hopefully tomorrow holds a ride on my lovely mare (or at least some snuggles... It's supposed to be rainy and gross). It's time to gets those blankets out so Miss Wil can be snuggly and warm. I love that she lives outside, and making sure she's dressed properly makes me smile. She's also due for a pedicure.

My little hambone!
This new screaching thing is so beyond adorable... but doesn't bode well when she's supposed to be just hanging out.
Love waking up to this face in the morning. We don't co-sleep anymore, but I will bring her into bed with me when she first wakes up in the morning. It's a great chance to snag some more snuggles.

Girl's lunch with Nana!
Somebody should really inform Dixie that that's not exactly what the boppy pillow is supposed to be used for!
What happens when it's Dad's turn to 'watch' the baby.
Watchin' the tube.
The other 1/3 of my heart. I love this mare and our journey together!
You missed one...
* Something funky is going on with the pictures in this joint. I'm contemplating making the switch to Wordpress, since Blogger isn't really all that I was hoping it would be... however I also don't want to lose all my previous posts. Please bear with me while I get everything sorted out. :) 

07 September, 2012

And Then There Was A Naked Man...

That's right folks... a naked man.

Shannon and I were on our way to the barn (where I actually worked Willow, whose hock looks wonderful! Score!), minding our own business, when the car in the opposite lane flashed their lights at us.

I flashed my lights back and checked my speed, thinking that there was a cop in front of us. The road is fairly windy and I've been picked up there a few times before.

Sure enough, I came around the corner to an officer in the road motioning for me to slow down. I did, because that's what you do as a law abiding citizen.

I'm glad I did, because not 30 seconds into my slowing down and man bolted out into the road, followed by an assortment of police officers.

I saw his winky.

It was flopping about like a dead fish. Then the cops tackled him to the pavement while I sat in total shock, unsure of if I should laugh, cry, or throw up.

I did a little of everything.

04 September, 2012


I was so excited yesterday! Mike had the day off for Labor Day (yay!). Since my weekend riding plans had been shot in the foot by a trip to camp (which was a blast) and then Mike working the fair from 10-10, I was excited to take full advantage of his parenting abilities and go ride the Mare.

Then we pulled in, I put her halter on and gave her the once over like I always do (because I'm paranoid)... her left hock was larger than the right.

^*#($&%#(@&@#)%#)%($*#& and @(*#%*@(%&#$(%&#(@


So I threw my hands up in the air, gave her a bubble bath (after which is promptly rolled in the dirt), cold hosed the stupid joint, and had Mike jog her (not only can he parent like a boss, but he's a great jogger!). She wasn't lame, but she wasn't quite right either.


I made a plan with B, and choked back the frustrated tears. I also didn't hit anything, which is a personal best.

Yet another set back. How many does this make now? I'm losing track, honestly.

It seems like all my attempts to get this mare to a place where I can ride her without constant supervision are being promptly thwarted by the horsey Gods. Or Karma (I've about had enough of you, lady!).

I'm seriously bumming over the whole thing. Fall (and winter which = The Big Move. TBM = LOTS of time lost with Willow) is fast approaching and I feel like time is ticking away. She's also 8 now.  Tick. Tick. Tick.

So. She'll have another week off and I'll try again.

It's a good thing she's puuurty, because she does a great job as a pasture puff.

And because a post wouldn't be complete without the obligatory picture of the wee one... please enjoy Shannon in all her 'helpful' glory.
Also. Dixie has been diagnosed with anaplasmosis, so I'm on the lameness alert for the dog too.
She clearly feels bad about it.
Not really. She was just hiding from the whirling dervish that is my daughter.

03 September, 2012

Early Starts!

Horse crazy was a name that I got called a lot in high school... I think that my obsession has since grown past that. So much so that when Mike and I were wandering around the fair last week and I caught sight of the pony rides, I made a bee line.

When I was young, I always insisted on the pony rides. Then it was lessons. Then a lease. Then a horse of my own. Now, over 20 years later, I'm still obsessed. I wanted to pass that obsession onto Shannon so it was only natural that she took her first spin on the pony ride!

She needs a little bit of work on her heels, and sitting up straight, but I think she's off to a great start!

I'm not sure who got more of a kick out of it, me or her! She loved it.

From there we went to the petting zoo, to make sure that the animal bug was well ground into her. She loved the goats, but not so much the donkey. He brayed right into her face, which startled her (and me!) a bit, but she finally gave him a pat on the nose.

We did discover, that she is NOT a fan of chickens. It must be genetic. They are awful creatures in my opinion. I'm more than happy to leave the chicken loving to the chicken lovers while I continue to admire from afar.
We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to going back next year! 

02 September, 2012


One of things that I've learned, as a new Mom, is to cherish the stages that Shannon is in, while she's in them.

I've often found myself thinking "I can't wait until she's mobile." or "I can't wait until she starts eating more solid food." Thinking that those stages will help make my life a little bit easier.

I. Am. So. Wrong.

I want to see that she's advancing, but now I'm starting to wish for the little baby days back. The days when I could plunk her in her carseat and she'd sleep through lunch or dinner out, or I could lay her on her playmat while I cooked (or went pee...for that matter. There is nothing like waddling around the bathroom with your pants around your ankles, trying to keep a very curious little one out of the trash).

It was all fine and dandy, and I went with it like the pro that I'm not. Until today.

Today was the mother of all stages, and the one that I've been dreading.


Sunday's are typically grocery shopping days around here. Usually Mike is home to assist with the baby wrangling, but today I had to pull on my big girl panties and go it alone. Compliments of the Army...  It's not a huge deal, as Shannon usually just hangs out in the cart, swinging her feet and taking in the sights.

Not today.

You see, Shannon has developed a fondness for paper in any form.  Her favorites include magazines (extra points for ones Mommy hasn't even READ yet) and book covers (thicker...more fiber) but any old piece will do. This makes my shopping list an object of much intrest. Last week she was more than happy to just crinkle it around, and Dad was in charge of making sure pieces didn't end up in her gut. He did a great job, so when she snagged my list this morning, I really didn't give it any thought.

After I pulled the 5th soggy, gross piece out of her chubby little cheek I decided to call it quits with the paper.

That's when it happened.

We were in the meat section. Next to the chicken. I extracted the drool covered shooping list from her chubby little fist and placed it in my purse. I then turned to select which chicken package looked the least offensive. In the backgroud I hear this high pitched scream.

Glad it's not my kid.  I said, and I shuffled through the chicken. Then I noticed the dirty looks being shot in my direction.

Do I have a booger? Did my pants rip? Somebody should really deal with that screamer.

More dirty looks. I select my chicken and turn to place it in the cart. I then realize...

That's my kid screaming.

Shannon has herself twisted around in the buggy seat, and is reaching for the shopping list in my purse behind her, wailing her little head off.

Purple-faced wailing.

The little Canadian man next to me is shooting daggers out of his eyes. I pray to any higher power that will listen, offering up my soul in exhange for invisbility. They didn't listen.

Crap, that meants I was actually going to have to DEAL with the situation.

I quickly turn Shannon around and stuff the shopping list in my purse, burying it under diapers, keys, and a half eaten granola bar. Shannon doesn't want to be turned away from her prize and is fighting me with all her 6 month old viciousness (that's A LOT...for those of you who don't have kids).

She then decides to let her inner drama queen out to play, arches her back and flings her head backwards. Smack into the metal backing of the seat.

I'm struggling to unbuckle the stupid buckle as the screaming ups a few decibles and people are starting to dial CPS on their phones. I'm fairly sure the baby gods are going to swoop down, spit in my eye, and carry Shannon away to a nice family who will allow her to eat their shopping list.

I finally got her unbuckled and settled down. People stop staring and resort to muttering under their breath as they walk away. I'm okay with that.

I get Shannon buckled back into the seat, say a quick prayer and continue with my shopping.

She smiles at me, and I can see her entire face start to look a bit strange. Praying that she wasn't about to repeat the epic meltdown, I start pushing the cart faster, throwing random items into the basket.

Then there is an odd squealching noise emitting from the underside of my little darling. I know that noise. That's the poop noise. That's the blowout poop noise.

Sure enough, I lift her out of the cart and there is poop coating the entire surface. I abandon all pretenses, figuring the people of the grocery store won't be surprised by this further display of "No way to I have my shit together enough to go grocery shopping today", and whip off my shirt (I wear a tank top under everything... thank you very much). I wrap Shannon in the shirt, finish my grocery shopping, and drive straight to McDonald's for a coffee.

I won't be praying for anymore advancing stadges for a while.

My Mom is going to be laughing at the wonder that is karma.

I happen to think karma is a bloody bitch.

29 August, 2012

I'm Too Tired To Be Creative.

Miss Shannon had her 6 month appointment yesterday, and she was a champ.

She weighs in at a hefty (har har) 14lbs 4oz and measures 23.75" long! That puts her in the 14th percentile in both aspects. Tiny, sure, but healthy!

She handled her shots like a pro, and only cried for a few minutes. Luckily Daddy was around this time to make things all better! I gave her a half dose of Infant Tylenol before we left, and that helped her legs not to swell, and she didn't run a low grade temp like she has in the past.

She was, however, a total spaz the rest of the day. She looked like she was hopped up on a little somethin' extra. She zoomed from one end of the house to the other, panting (which is her, I'm overly excited, response to everything), with her eyes as big as dinner plates. Thank goodness for the crock pot! I don't know if I could have actually cooked a real meal!

The real challenge came at bedtime. I had to play Daddy yesterday night, because Mike ended up working pretty late, and she wasn't having any of it. She finally fell asleep in bed with me, around 1 A.M. (thank goodness I can nurse lying down). She was up and ready to party by 3.

She's now finally gone back to sleep (after a rather loud, lengthy fight), and hopefully she'll take a nice, long nap!

Thank heavens for her swing!

28 August, 2012


My computer has them, and they are most evil. Hopefully we'll get the issues sorted out soon, but until then, please hang in there with me while I post from wonderful iPhone!

In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Instagram @ xhaltsalute!

24 August, 2012

Letting Go.

It's one of the hardest things that, as an animal owner and lover, one will ever do.

My parents had to make that decision today, for our beloved Golden Retreiver, Shadow.

We got Shadow as an overweight, but happy, guy shortly after we moved back stateside. I remember when Mom first brought him home, 'on trial'. He never left, and I don't think that he ever looked back.

Mom worked her butt off to restore him to a healthy weight, and once her hard work paid off, we were all rewarded with an energetic, up for anything, dog. He loved to have his fur blow dried with the hair dryer, would happily leap into the car for a ride, and was a bit relentless about having his 'hand' held.

My favorite Shadow story was one summer he and I were home alone and I decided to lay out with my book in the sun. Shadow joined me, but soon lumbered off into the woods surrounding my parents house. I didn't think much about it, until he came back with a duckling in his mouth. He held it ever so gently in that soft retreiver mouth, and deposited it into my lap. Not knowing what to do, I put it into the wheelbarrow with the intentions of bringing it out back to the pond, where hopefully it's mother would be found. He lumbered off again, and came back with another duckling. After the third duckling was brought to me, he stuck around, looking rather pleased with himself. I marked the place in my book with a sigh, when his ears perked up. From the woods I heard a large amount of quacking. I stood up just as a very peeved Momma Duck came exploding out of the underbrush, hissing and quacking. I tipped the wheelbarrow over into her path, spilling baby ducks everywhere, and hoofed it back to the house. Shadow, the coward, had beat me back and was sitting by the door looking at me as to say "What took you so long? Didn't you know that there is a crazy duck out there?!"

I will always giggle a little, when I sit down in my Mom's rocking chair to nurse Shannon (or later, when she's not nursing) because he would always wander his way over, so that your foot would scratch his belly as you rocked back and forth.

It's so hard to let go, and nothing is worse than greiving.

I remember when we had to put down my filly Wasabi because of a terrible accident. I moped for days and spent the first night sitting up in my bed, sobbing my eyes out.

You cope though, and you keep marching on, knowing that just because you have lost one friend, it is because there is another out there that needs you just as badly.

Godspeed Shadow, you were the best.

22 August, 2012

The Big 6!


Yea. That’s right. Miss Shannon hit the big 6 months on Monday!


We spent the day taking a road trip to visit her Great-Grandparents in New York, and she was wonderful! Really easy as pie.

She has her 6 month well baby check up next week, but my sweet new biceps prove that she’s gaining weight! She’s in 6-9 months clothes, and healthy as a horse.


I think that the biggest difference between her last month update and this one is how mobile she is now. She is constantly moving, and time spent catching a snuggle is fleeting. She has the Army crawl perfected and has no problem getting exactly where she needs to go. She gets there quicker than I could ever imagine! No more putting her down on her play mat to make a quick lunch, or make her bed. She’s into trouble as soon as you put her down. Luckily she loves to bounce in her saucer! It’s a blast to watch her learning about the new things on her level around the house, and our pets are in big trouble! 




We had a few firsts over this past month. The biggest being her first sleepover with Nana! Mike and I took a little stay-cation for our first wedding anniversary, and Shannon got to go hang with Nana. I had a much harder time of it than she did, I’m sure. My Mom was wonderful about answering all twelve dozen phone calls, and Shannon went to bed semi-easily for her. Over all it was a success!

Shannon is also now big enough/strong enough to sit in a high chair on her own. Talk about making meal times about 15,000% easier!


Speaking of food, I had my heart set on the Baby Led Weaning method, but like I do, I researched it to death. We’d been trying to hold her off but she was showing all the signs, so I got my butt in gear. After talking it over with Mike, and reading a million different forums, blogs, and a book, we decided that we weren’t 100% comfortable with the process because of the choking hazards that it presents. We found a happy medium in the mesh feeders! She has a puree for lunch and a soft veggie or fruit in the mesh feeder for her to eat while we eat our dinner. She goes nuts for it! Squash is her favorite, with carrots coming in a close second. She prefers them both over any fruits that I’ve offered her.


I’m so proud to say that we are still nursing on demand 8-10 times a day, and it doesn’t look like she’s going to be stopping anytime soon. Introducing new foods has been a lot of fun, but I’m so happy that I don’t have to worry about her not getting the nutrients that she needs when she rejects a new food, or only eats a few spoonfuls. I don’t force anything on her, ever. If she doesn’t like it, we mark it down on the ‘no’ list and move on. No pressure.

She has also found her voice, and is constantly squealing and ‘talking’. She’s most vocal to the animals. She loves to shriek and squeal at them.

We (knock on wood) haven’t hit the ‘stranger danger’ phase yet. She’s happy to go visit with just about anybody and is even more thrilled when they get down on the floor with her. She’s her Daddy’s girl through and through and it’s pretty clear that she prefers him over me. He’s the ‘fun one’ apparently. I’m just the milk bar when Dad’s around. Who can blame her though? Just look at the stud!





It’s a good thing she can share.

She doesn’t have a favorite toy (although a blanket is a MUST for nap/bed times), other than things that aren’t really meant to be toys…




… And she’s still sleeping through the night.


Mostly. Winking smile 

She is working pretty hard at getting herself into a sitting position from being on her tummy and she usually ends up in a funny little posing position.


I can’t wait to see what next month brings, and I’m enjoying every second with her!


18 August, 2012

Not Always Perfect.


Just most of the time. Smile 

Miss Willow got the day off on Wednesday, but Thursday evening we were right back at it. She was her usual awesome self on the lunge line (except for the whole, stopping and swinging her bum to the outside, when going to the right, still working on that).

We had set the goal of that day to trot (again). Sadly we didn’t meet that goal, but we broke through another big (to me) hurdle. The first spook. It’s the part that I’ve been the most nervous about, kind of like the first time that you fall off. You wait for it, and as your waiting your mind builds it up to be so much worse than it will probably actually be. That’s what I’ve been doing. Wil is so bloody athletic that I was sure  it was going to be a head cruncher.

She threw her usual “I don’t wannnnnna.” green horse tempertantrum when I first got on and asked her to walk forward. Ears pinned, tail spinning around in irritated circles, and she bit my boot. Again. I growled, booted her forward, not falling for it this time and off we went. We meandered down to the far end of the area and started around on our circle.

Let me just take note here that nothing has changed from the last time we had gone down there (exactly 5 minutes ago). All the sudden it was ears pricked and snort, snort, snort. I sent her forward, made sure my heels were as far down as possible, and tried to get her to focus.

Then we came around the circle again and REALLY went forward!

Holy G force batman! She scooted, then came back, then scooted again. I stuck with her, and B gave her a whoa with the lunge line, and all was well. She got the scoots out, and the rest of the ride was near perfect.

We still haven’t trotted, but by the end of the ride she was starting to give to my hand, and not attempt to spin around in the circle when we halted (same thing she does on the lunge line). B has me correcting her with my outside leg and hand. She’s getting the idea, and I decided to end the ride on a nice, proper halt.

I know that there is going to come a day when she’s going to dump me flat on my rear, but getting that first spook out of the way was the big relief that I needed (for whatever reason). Judged from the way she tucked underneath herself and lept into a few canter strides, I’m gonna have me a fun  one. I can’t wait!

Today and tomorrow are going to be lunge sessions, then she’ll have Mon-Wed off, since I’m off to visit family with the Munch!

16 August, 2012

Freedom. Round II.


Tuesday morning, Mike, Shannon and I made our way out to the barn before we dropped Shannon off with my Mom for her first sleepover (!!).

Willow and I had had such a good ride on Monday that I wanted to keep the momentum going, even though Mike and I had planned a nice getaway in Stowe for our anniversary. Mike is really starting to understand what horse ‘crazy’ means! He’s a good sport.

Willow was a peach on the ground, and Mike is even starting to learn how to tack her up and lunge her! She was perfect, even though all her friends were outside and she didn’t get to go play at all after her breakfast. She didn’t pull any of her usual shennanigans going to the right on the lunge line, and stood like a champ while I waited for B to get back.






Aren’t my breeches super sexy? Winking smile 

I finally made the executive decision to get on and practice our stop and go buttons while we waited for B to get home.

It was an epic fail. Willow decided that she had been waiting much to long, and she was done. We got one circle under out belt, then she swung her massive bay butt towards the barn and refused to move. I squeezed and she pinned her ears and swished her tail. I squeezed and clucked. She started backing up. Wrong button. We stopped and gathered ourselves, then I squeezed again. She actually pinned her ears, swung her head around, and bit my boot! Wench. I saw B making her way over to the ring, and decided to stop and wait for her.

I’m a little bit disappointed in myself for chickening out and waiting for help. I’ve done this a million (well okay, not quite a million…) times and I knew that I knew how to handle the situation.

B got there and we got moving in the proper direction, down to the end of the ring furthest away from the barn. The goal for that day was to trot, but since Miss decided to throw another tempertantrum, we worked on go, stop, go a few more times and ended on a good note.

She’s a testy one, but she’s also smart. She’s tested me on the ground, the lunge line, and now in the tack. I have to trust in my abilities to know how to work through it, and I have to trust in her that she’s just testing. This is all brand new to her. Hopefully that will work in my favor once I learn to trust that the worst she is going to do is bite my boot.

I’m feeling a little bit of pressure (from no one but myself!) to really do a good job with her. She’s the nicest horse that I have ever brought along, and I’m nervous about what is going to happen when we leave the safety blanket that is B and her knowledge. I’m sure that we’ll be fine, but I’m feeling the pressure from myself not to screw it all up!


She is my once in a lifetime opportunity!

14 August, 2012

One Amazing Year.




I, Cathleen, take you Michael, to be my husband, my lover, the father or my children, and my best friend. I will remain faithfully yours in times of separation, in times of sickness and in health, in times of joy and in sorrow, in times of failure and in triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to encourage and be supportive of you, to comfort and stay with you, loving what I know of you, and trusting what I do not yet know, for all eternity.