30 July, 2012

Boom, Baby!


For those of you that know us, and many that don’t, Mike and I enjoy firearms. Our house is full of them (carefully kept away from little fingers!!). When Mike was contacted by a long time friend, asking if we wanted to attend the Green Mountain Boys Shooting Club’s 2012 Summer Shootout (say THAT 10 times fast!) we jumped at the chance.

What a great way to start off the weekend. We got up early Friday morning, loaded Shannon in the car, and off we went to meet up with two other recruiters and Mike’s friend John. What a great experience!

I’ve been around guns, but the line up that they had at this event was like nothing that I’ve ever seen before. Mini-cannons, a tank, .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle (holy boom Batman!), and so many more. I realized why exactly they called the line ‘hot’ about 2 seconds after the opening shot. It’s a feeling like none other!

Enjoy these videos…but realize that they don’t even come close to what it felt like to be there.

The Opening Shot!

We thought that Shannon was going to have a hard time with all the noise, and don’t worry, we decked her out in her own pair of tiny ear muffs! She was a trooper though, and slept through the whole thing in her front pack.


I hope that we can be here for it next year, as it was incredible! Everybody participating was friendly, talkative, and enamored with Shannon in her little ear muffs! I got a shirt to commemorate the whole experience (I would find clothes shopping at a machine gun shoot, in the middle of the woods, in the middle of nowhere Vermont!) and I can’t thank John enough for inviting us!

vancarinsmokeNote the smoke coming out of the barrel of the gun being fired by the man in full camouflage!


Sadly, I didn’t get any video of the .50 Sniper Rifle being fired. It was right in front of where we were standing, and the BOOM was so loud that my ear plugs actually jumped out of my ears.

Compared to Friday’s events, the rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful.

Saturday, I got to snag some Q-T with my favorite bay mare, who is now allowed to go outside in a small paddock! I gave her a good scrubbing with my grooming kit, and she looked good as new.


I also brought home a huge pile of leather to clean. Alas, I still haven’t gotten around to that!

We’ve also been adventuring more into the land of baby food with Shannon, as it’s getting pretty hard to hold her off. She’s so ready to be a big girl. I’m so not! We had some sweet potatoes on Sunday night, and it seems to me that they were a huge hit!


We’ve also started giving her an ounce or so of water in her sippy cup with her meals. She mostly just throws it all over the place, but she seems to be getting the hang of it.

I also discovered a few amazing apps on iPhone over the weekend, that I just have to share.

The first is the C25K or Couch to 5k. They have a line of apps, designed to help new runners be successful at the distance of their choice, from 5k’s all the way to a full marathon. The C25K free version that I downloaded gave me a great workout last night when I tried it out. It’s easy to use, and you can play your music of choice in the background. It gives you voice directions when you start walking/jogging. You do 5 minute warm-up, then run 8 sets of 60 seconds jogging, 90 seconds walking, finish out with a 5 minute cool down. It’s 8 week program will get you in shape if you follow it three times a week.  I’m not new to running, but after having a baby and dealing with my knee issues I think that this app will be perfect!

I used C25K in conjunction with my Nike+ Running app, which uses a GPS to track the speed and distance of your run. It also tells you the amount of calories burned based on your height and weight, which you put into the phone. You can sync it to your Facebook account, and your friends can actually send you ‘Cheers’ during your run! It saves all your runs so you can see improvement. If you have to pause your run, your music pauses as well. Pretty neat, and free!

The third app that I took for a test run, is the Simply Yoga app. They offer 20, 40, and 60 minute yoga workouts from 2 different routines. They show you a picture of the pose so that you can follow right along and have 16 different poses for you to pick from, and you can either start from the beginning, or you can choose a different pose to start from. I think that it can be a great app for when you travel and can’t get wi-fi or bring a laptop, but it’s hard to follow a yoga routine on my small phone screen all the time. I prefer Netflix or a DVD.

Finally, I downloaded an App called Songza. I’m still getting used to navigating it, but it proved to be pretty useful on my run yesterday. Instead of just selecting a genre of music (like Rock or Country) you select the activity that you’re currently taking part in. They even had a playlist for singing in the shower (much to Mike’s dismay). The playlists are created by other users, so sometimes it doesn’t play exactly what your looking for, but you can discover a lot of new stuff. Yesterday on my run, it selected a band called Skrillex. I’d heard of them, but never were my forte. Turns out they are exactly what I needed to power through the uphill part of my run! I’m all for new things.

Now I just need an app that helps Dixie keep up! You would think that the dog would have the energy to keep up, but after the first interval I had to hand her off to Mike, who was supposed to be jogging with me, but the stroller’s front wheel came loose and it wasn’t safe for him to be running with Shannon in it.   

I’m off to go watch some Gigglebellies with the half-pint, while we wait for Dad to get home!


25 July, 2012

Say Cheese!

A few weeks ago Mike, Shannon, and I had professional family pictures taken! I love  them!

These are just a few of my favorites!
I’m excited to get Willow’s done (as soon as her booty heals) and create a photo wall! I’m sure that I’ll get everything together just in time to pack us up to head off on our next adventure.
Speaking of Wil’s butt, she’s doing so well! She hasn’t rubbed her stitches out at all, and they look great. She got to go outside for the first time in a week today, so she’s one happy girl! There wasn’t even any drama. Her stitches come out in about a week and then it’s back to work for her.  I’ll save the pictures for myself, but VLAC did an amazing job! We tried to get her out for some hand grazing everyday!

He just looks thrilled, doesn’t he?
Mike and I had a pretty eventful weekend. We had family here on Saturday and enjoyed a great dinner with them! Shannon rocked her newest hairdo (makes me think that she would make a great Pebbles for Halloween!) and was a champ for most of the visit. Now that she’s so mobile, the hardest part is keeping her entertained at the dinner table. She doesn’t like to just sit and watch everybody eat, she needs to be on the move!

Sunday was full of running around and I wasn’t so surprised when Shannon slept from 10 on Sunday night, to 8 on Monday morning! Mike had to go into the office, so he dropped Dixie and I off at the Everything Canine Expo and took Shannon into work with him!

The Expo was pretty small and we got there pretty late, but I was still able to get information on the Canine Good Citizen tests (dun dun dun!!) that I think will be beneficial to Dixie’s growing up. A lot of our major hurdles revolve around her behavior when she has too much energy and I leave her. I think that the excess energy gives her anxiety. I know the CGC test won’t cure her of that, but it’s a good first step towards the agility classes that I would eventually like to take, which will help her get that energy out!
She also scored a sweet new bandana from Buddy Bandanas!

I loved them! I had a really hard time picking just one but at $4 each, they are pretty inexpensive. They also slide right onto her collar, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off or fighting with trying to tie it.
I also signed up for the Chase Away 5K in October! It’s a benefit for Canine Cancer. If any of you are interested in running/walking it with me, let me know and maybe we can create a team! I don’t think that I’ll be running it with Dixie, although dogs are welcome. It’s a little long for her stubby little limbs. She’s more of a sprinter.
We rounded out or Sunday with a visit to Mom, so that Mike could have some quiet time to himself. Shannon was in bed early (10…) for once, and slept like a rock!
Yesterday, I got the awesome chance to sit on one of the best beasts in the East.
I had a good ride (considering it’s been almost a year since I’ve ridden in any serious capacity). All my old problem habits are still there, like riding with “puppy paws” and being a little slow on the giving. Things are so different in the dressage world. I’m so disappointed that I’m going to start getting going with Willow, just to get sent somewhere else.
We thought that there was a really good chance that we were going to stay here (which is why we started house hunting), but alas, no. We still don’t have orders, but will be leaving in December at the latest. Sigh. It’s a point of contention in my life right now.
Shannon hit another milestone on Monday as well…
She can ride in the grocery cart like a big girl now! It’s so much easier in all aspects now. I can see where I’m pushing the cart, she loves to look out at all the people, and I love being able to see her sweet little mug!
I’m planning on getting her one of those nifty shopping cart seat cover things, as I’m sure it’ll make her life a little bit more comfortable, and I’m not really super thrilled that she was trying to chew on the metal bar in front of her. Sanitary it is not. She doesn’t understand “OMG, Eww… yucky…gosh!” yet.
We made it home just in time to put everything away and watch the monsoon that was the thunderstorm of Monday evening roll through.
Dixie isn’t a huge fan of the first few rumbles, and enjoys barking at them to show it whose boss.
Out power was knocked out for a significant amount of time, but everything is back to normal now!
I’m off to take an afternoon siesta with the mini-me. Here’s a preview of the next post that I’ve been working on.
I’ve started using Windows Live Writer, since I hate  the way that Blogger does things but I didn’t really want to move the whole kaboodle over to Wordpress either. WLW makes it a lot easier to work on posts long term and makes picture sharing less than painless!

20 July, 2012

5 Months!

I can hardly believe that I'm sitting down to write yet another "Shannon is growing up way too stinkin' fast" post... but I am!

Shannon rang in her 5 month birthday with some supervisin' of Mommy at the barn this morning.

She lasted about 10 whole minutes, and then I had to hit the gas pedal and get chores done faster than I ever have before.

Shannon continues to amaze me. She's learning so quickly and there is something new that she works on everyday.

She is aboutthisclose to crawling, and will get up on her hands and knees, rock back and forth, then plop back down. She is really good at rolling to get where she wants to go. Many of the places that she ends up make me laugh. She has mastered Army crawling, and will scoot herself towards the toy or person that she's aiming for. 

One of her favorite things to do is smile at anybody who will show her the least little bit of attention and she loves her boys. I'm not sure if it's the deeper pitch of their voice, or what, but as soon as a man enters the room, she's enamored. Everybody asks us if she's always as happy as she seems, and she really is.

We have her on a loose schedule, and I think that that has really helped me be able to indentify her needs. I can tell, based on where we are in her day, why she is fussing and I'm able to give her what she needs pretty quickly. Her afternoon nap schedule is fairly erratic still, but she takes a morning nap like clockwork. She doesn't go to bed at night until around 11, and we aren't trying to break that habit. If that's what she needs, then that's what she needs. She still doesn't sleep through the night reliably. We'll get a stretch of 3-4 night when she'll sleep from 10-7, then a stretch of nights where she's up once or twice. Luckily she eats and goes right back down within 20 minutes or so, but between her and her father being sick, I haven't been able to complete a full REM cycle of sleep in... 5 months? If she wakes up after Mike is up for the day, I bring her into bed with me for a snuggle or two. :)

She's a bed hog though... ;-)

We've been playing the teething game on and off since she was about 3 months, and things are starting to heat up in that department. Anything in her hands goes right into her mouth. Usually she just gums them a bit, but now she's starting to bite down with some real force. She a little harder to please during the day, and there are some moments where she just doesn't want to have anything to do with anything. She isn't content to roll around on the floor, sit in her saucer, nurse, or be held.  I still am so thankful that we've been blessed with such an easy baby, that I try not to complain. Our neighbors had a little girl in May and from what I hear over there, the going is pretty rough!

This new stage of teething had made nursing a little bit more challanging for me (she's still a pro...). She has started chewing on me and its rough. I'm hoping that this stage passes soon, beause I'm starting to dread our nursing sessions. I'm in more pain now, than when she was a newborn. She refuses a bottle from me, and formula is out of the question. In no way am I quitting, and I'm trying to take it one session at a time. I will reach our goal of a year, things are just a bit discouraging right now. When she starts to chew (or pinch...thats a fun one too) I take it away, very firmly tell her 'NO'. She usually just laughs and sticks her fingers in my mouth. After I hit the 'publish' button, the phone will be dialing to our local LC, and hopefully she will be of some help.

Mom! That's MINE!

Shannon loves Dixie and will sit on the floor with me for hours watching her play fetch. It's a win-win for everybody! She's also figured out how to blow raspberries! When you combine that with all the drool that comes along with this teething extravagansa, I'm seriously contemplating the purchase of a rain suit. Maybe my doctor will hook me up with one of those face shields she wore while Shannon was in the whole, being born, process.

She also loves to read, and will sit on your lap for book after book. Her favorite person to read with is her Nana, naturally. My Mom installed the bookwarm gene in me, and I'm so glad that she's installing it in Shannon as well. Who better to keep the love alive!

This picture makes my heart smile.

Another love of Shannon's is music. She loves to listen to her Grampy and Aunt Abby sing, and she goes nuts for anything on my Pandora "Zumba" station. Her favorite songs are Copperhead Road (why, I'll never know) and the song "Constant Sorrow" from O' Brother Where Art Thou. I'm thinking that Abby Road is going to have some new requests. ;-).

This Mom is happy to watch George Clooney over and over! ;-)

Giggle Bellies on Youtube is a big hit in the house as well. I happen to think that the creators are on some kind of crack, coming up with those critters, but if it makes the kid happy, who am I to judge?

Finally, we've started to play around with purees, and I'm excited to try to start making my own baby food. After almost pulling her father's pasta plate into his lap twice while we were out to eat, we broke down and bought some carrot purees at Hannafords over the weekend. She isn't a huge fan, and prefers to finger paint with them. All the better, because I think that Baby-Led Weaning is going to be the way to go for us. We'll give her her own spoon to play with at mealtimes, and hopefully that will keep her from reaching into our plates for a sample!

I know I say this every monthly update, but I'm still floored by how quickly she's growing and learning things. She's healthy, happy, and smart as a whip! I'd say that Mike and I are pretty proud of our little Munch!

A serious ceiling fan addiction!

Her hair kills me.

The perfect way to spend an evening!

15 July, 2012

What A Whirlwind!

Well, I haven't been as religious about updating because of the fact that I've been house sitting for the wonderful woman who owns the barn where Willow lives. Juggling a 4 month old, 2 cats, 3 dogs, and 14 horses was no easy feat, and I so appreciate those who pitched in so things could run as smoothly as possible.

Watching her Auntie Anna school.

I'm back in the saddle again...

Hard day's work!

Barring the deranged kid with the gun hiding in the field, the wasp nests hidden in various places around the farm, a few bovine encounters, a rebellious cat, Shannon's allergic reaction to her sinus infection antibiotics, and Mike and I coming down with the plague (why can men never fall ill gracefully?!), everything went really well! A huge thanks to my right and left hand, Anna. Without her I'd be down a headful of hair. She's amazing!!

My Mom also deserves much more than I could ever give her. She stepped up and really helped make things as easy as she could for me when it came to making sure that Shannon was happy. It's hard to juggle a baby at the barn, but make it 100 degrees and its just miserable.

The other reason that we've been so busy, is that Mike and I have offically starting house hunting.

Really early in the morning....

We've seen about a dozen, and I'll tell you, it's both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. We've seen some really sketchy properties, some places that really make me question peoples taste is decor, and one place that had a huge chunk of the foundation missing. We've also found four properties that we like, and both have an equal amount of pros and cons. I keep having to remind myself that this isn't going to be our forever home and that it doesn't have to be perfect to be our first place, but it seems like A LOT of money to be plunking down. Our realtor is amazing, and we love him!

The first place (we'll call it the Short Sale) has a fantastic split level layout, awesome kitchen, ample back yard and a really handy full bath in the laundry room. It's maxing out our budget by 10K, though, and it's a short sale. The location is okay, but not fantastic. The street is a lovely, quiet cul-de-sac, but it's in a rougher part of town. When you live a nomadic life, like we do, we don't want to be waiting 6-8 months to close on a place! It's move in ready, and the layout upstairs is really nice. Everything is in on the same level (minus laundry), so the first floor is just bonus space. Big yard, but not fenced in. Lovely back deck off the dining room.

The second place (we'll call it... umm... the Blue House) is great! Awesome location, pool, hot tub, finished basement with a great playspace (with a full bathroom!) and a den. Fenced in yard on a nice quiet street. The taxes are pretty high, and a pool would be expensive to maintain. Laundry room is in the basement, so that's three sets of stairs to drag laundry up and down. Rental potential is great, but the amount of insurance that we'd have to have because of the pool would be insane.

The third place (the School House) has so. much. charm. It's from the 1800s, and was an old school house. 100% PERFECT location. It has a lot of great features, including a woodstove in the den, an amazing fenced in yard with a fire pit, a brook, and a hot tub. It has oodles of history, and many of the original features are still there (including the old school bell!!). Old houses have quirks though and once you get one thing started, everything usually snowballs. Stairs are extremly steep and narrow. Moving our furniture in would be something!

The final house (the Bungalow) has military history, is in an extremly small, quiet neighborhood. The whole house has been re-done, and it has brand new paint/carpet/kitchen. It has amazing views and is extremly below our budget. The low assocation fees cover landscaping and plowing in the winter, which is a big plus for me (mostly since Mike will be leaving for another school again) not to have to worry about it. Taxes are the lowest as well. It's way out there, though. It's probably the furthest that we've seen, and the road leading to it is pretty rough. Potholes big enough to ingest my giant SUV. It's also tiny. Like 1,000 sq ft tiny, with no closets. It also doesn't have central heat. There are two heaters in two of the bedrooms but the size of the house doesn't make that a huge issue. It would be easy to cool in the summer.

This pretty much sums everything up.

What say you, those who read? Weigh in on your pick! We're going to keep looking, and keep our options open. We have two different tastes, which makes it hard. Mike also doesn't really get excited about... well... anything. Except when I re-stock the fridge with beer.

I'm off, my dear friends. Shannon got a new Johnny Jump-Up today and is having a great time spinning herself in circles!

13 July, 2012

Busy Bee

I haven't been around much lately, and for that I do apologize! I'll explain why later this weekend. Mike and I have been busy as bees over the past ten days!

Thanks for sticking around, if you read this blog on the regular! I know there are some of you out there, seeing as how I have over 2,000 hits! Not a lot compared to some of the others that I follow, but little 'ole me is pretty excited over the whole thing.

Shannon is doing fantastic! We discovered an allergy to amoxicillin this week, and I'm a bit perturbed with her doctor's office. Three days and three phone calls later, I still have no response from them about the goings on. I either can't get through to their office, get put on hold for over 20 minutes (unacceptable, in my opinion...at least check back in), or they just plain don't return my calls. We've had great service otherwise, but I'm starting to wonder if a switch might be in order. I don't want to mess around with allergies but their approach is lacking. Three strikes and your out, right?

If any of y'all have tried to leave comments but couldn't, I apologize! I just realized the settings were all screwed up. I've opened them up, but any and all nasty notes will be deleted.

I'm off to tend to my littlest side kick! Hope you all have a great day, and look out for a monster post here by the end of the weekend!