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.


13 August, 2012


Can I just say (and I know that I'm posting twice in one night... but ah well) how so very giddy I am over my horse? I love her to bits and I so very very thankful for her, every single day.

We took the biggest step in our journey together thus far, getting through absesses, Lyme, Mike's insane work schedule, a butt surgery, and some of my personal problems. We took a spin in the big kid ring, without being attached to anybody!

It doesn't seem like much of anything at all, but to me it's feels like the start of everything that's too come!

Thank you so much Mike, Becky, Dave, Charlie, Larry, and my Mom for allowing the stars to align and for me to be blessed with such an amazing mare. I cherish her everyday.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.

07 August, 2012

No More!

Willow got her stitches out and now it’s back to work for her.
I cannot express how insanely happy I am about this whole thing. 
Tomorrow is the big day, and I’m hoping that she’s retained something from what we were doing before. I’m on the war path about getting her going now. After watching all the impressiveness that is Charlotte Dujardin and Valegro at the Olympics, I’ve been inspired!
I don’t think that we’ll be ready for Rio is 2016 or anything, but I’m excited to get her going. Hopefully this is the end of all her ailments, and we’ll actually be able to accomplish something (like steering and brake installation).
So. Away we go tomorrow! Wish us luck!