Sunday, June 30, 2013

Favorite Rides

My favorite ride at French Broad River Dude Ranch was the gallop or canter up the mountain. Freaky scary fast exhilarating. I didn't fall off (which was very good). I had to try out to make sure I could do it. I just passed, and I'm so glad I did. It was very fun to race up the mountain. Princess was more than happy to gallop up the mountain. No pictures of me doing that, of course, since the rest of the family was on a different ride, and anybody riding with us could NOT have taken a picture and lived to tell the tale.

Now, C44's favorite ride was the white trail, because it had a great view, and it was a nice ride with Q7. I also enjoyed that ride, but I did it when everybody else was doing the tubing. But   the cattle drive was also a favorite because he was riding Mars instead of Barron. Barron went at his own slow pace. Mars was more spirited and C44 was able to ride back and forth a bit more. There are, of course, no pictures of C44 on the cattle drive, since he was taking the pictures. Here is Q7 on the cattle drive, though.

Q7 on the cattle drive

My favorite ride for C8 was at the Kids Rodeo. She -- like Q7 -- rode Faith through cones, and did a few other things ... this was the last race:

She was SCARED! As you can hear! But, she stayed on!

I'm also not sure what Q7's favorite ride was, but here she is at the cattle penning. And yes, I'm sorry, I'm a horrible videographer. You see the ground and the horses legs as much as Q7. Possibly more.

Fabulous time (C8, Q7, and Wrangler Mel)
Girls and Mel

Fabulous horses (here is Love, Princess, and Charlie and Destiny)

Love Princess Charlie, Destiny, and Q7

Friday, June 28, 2013

On Horses

Most of what you do at the dude ranch is two rides a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon (unless you opt to do a tubing or a white water rafting ride on certain days .... breaks up the horsey monotony) and then some evening activity ... including cow penning, square dancing, music, and the kids rodeo. But two rides a day was really enough. But they change it up between trail rides and moving cows, so it wasn't boring.

That plus and just saddling up, cooling down, and giving treats to horses was enough to make nearly anybody pretty comfortable around horses. These guys are Arabians, they weren't so big (I mean, big enough, but not intimidating big). But if you ever didn't know where Q7 was ... all you had to do was look out at the stables or pastures and you'd pretty much be assured of finding her.

C8 and Faith or Echo

Q7 and Charlie Q7 and Lightening

C8 and Echo

C8 and a brown horse

Everybody was expected to collect their own horse from the pasture and saddle him/her (you learn how in HRS:101). This is all well and good for adult-sized people, but for the 7-8-9 year olds they did get help lifting that saddle over their heads and onto the backs of the horses. It was actually quite amusing to watch Q7 attempt to spin around and lift the saddle onto Lightning's back.

There was also plenty of waiting around time, during which we got some family photos.

Here, C8 wouldn't wear her cowboy hat.

Cousins and Grandparents

Q7 playing in the hay:
Q7 in the Hay

With Ninoo:
Ninoo and girls

And ... I think this was at the cow penning. C8 did this last year, but chose not to this year because Faith (the horse available for her to ride at the cattle penning) "doesn't move" she said. More on that at the Kids Rodeo ...
C8 reading

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dude ranch ... again!

Last July we went to the French Broad River Dude Ranch ... and it was wicked fun. So back again this year.

We left Tuesday night, against Q7's wishes, to stay at a Hampton Inn on the way down, get some swimming in at the hotel pool, and go to a cave the next morning. Of course, by K-Street in DC we already had to stop to let C8 use a bathroom. As if traffic wasn't annoying enough, we had to find a place to pee in downtown DC! I think we stopped three more times after that, so you can imagine how long it took to get to the hotel. A long time. But we did, and it was fine. After the C8-coveted breakfast buffet (worst breakfast buffet ever), and an hour of swimming we took off and headed for Dixie Caverns.

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Caves are not necessarily my thing. They start talking about earthquakes and I start thinking about getting crushed between the boulder above you and the rock below you. To be honest, it wasn't really the girls thing either, but I'm not exactly sure why. But C44 was very keen to go to one ... although probably he'd have preferred a cave that wasn't Dixie Caverns. The gift shop was supremely kistch-y and had really great mood rings, but we probably could have chosen a better first cave. But it was cool as long as I wasn't thinking about the ceiling caving in.
2013-06-19 11.00.00

By 4:15 or so we'd reached the ranch. The girls and I of course knew what to expect, but this was the first view for C44:

The lodge and lodge pasture

We hooked up with family and after checking in Q7 and A9 immediately set off with the wranglers to feed the horses:

Q7 and A9 with Wranglers feeding horses on first day

And that was the end of our first day. We sat around a corral and got the talk (HRS 101 How to Ride a Horse: French Broad River Style), then the day was pretty much over. Next up: Riding!

Last view of the day:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New sweater

Q7 got a newly shrunken sweater from MeMe ... I can't believe how well it fits her. She's wearing it right now. She looks grouchy, but actually she is fine. Note in the first picture C8's feet ... in C44's shoes.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We went down to the Mall yesterday to visit with K42 who was down for a conference. It was so lovely to visit with her. I took this photo. Q7 made me promise to use it for next year's Christmas card before she even saw it, and I agreed.

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All that is dependent upon me getting my Christmas card act together. You should expect last year's Christmas card by the end of the month. Only it won't be a Christmas card.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

First piano recital

C8 and Q7 has their first piano recital last night.

We had to drive over to Chevy Chase last night for the recital, but was in a lovely church with a grand piano. The drive wasn't bad, no traffic, and we had dinner nearby. And then the recital!

I never did recitals when I took piano lessons, so the format was all new to me. Recitals apparently start with the students who are less experienced, and end with the most experienced/technically competent players and pieces.

Q7 was third last night. As this was the end of her first year this seems appropriate. The video is a little fuzzy ... I am not sure why. But Q7 was the only student at the recital to sing and play at the same time, which I've mentioned before. A number of parents said how great that was, and how difficult. This praise did not seem to have any impact upon Q7, but when the girl who closed the show told Q7 how great she'd done singing and playing, that made an impact. Ah, peer pressure, both good and bad. Hopefully this is the good kind and will stick, because as of late Q7 has been saying that she hates piano. I do have a hard time really believing that, since she seems to really enjoy playing and singing. And she clearly enjoyed listening to the other pieces last night, especially as they progressed. She was sitting and paying attention and really listening.

Q7 picked this piece based solely on the name, "The Unicorn Ride."

C8 was also at the end of her first year, so I was a little surprised as to where C8 was placed in the line-up,  about halfway through the program. Although she did push forward to do a piano piece at the elementary school talent show she was placed 3-4 slots after the girl who taught her piano last summer. But, C8 just loves the piano and classical music, despite the fact of getting "rhythm lectures" (and "dynamics lectures") from her piano teacher every week.  To get her to think about rhythm and dynamics during practice all I have to do is shout out "rhythm lecture!" and she will think about it rather than rushing through the piece.

C8 couldn't have cared less about the other performers. When asked, she said her favorite piece was her own. And after the girl before her finished, C8 was up and almost out of the pew before the girl had even taken her bow. I literally had to hold her back.

C8 picked a more classical piece for her recital.