While we were up in the lovely mountains of North Carolina, we all decided that we needed to get in some horseback riding. For our third year in a row.
Last year, we went horseback riding every day for four days at a beautiful ranch in Spruce Pine.
But this year, we only rode for an afternoon.
For the first time ever, we all had rode our very own horse. Even Henry. I've got to admit, seeing him in the saddle made me a little nervous considering the actual saddle weighed more than he did. But Henry's a little Buckaroo at heart and he quickly let that horse know that he wasn't just along for a ride.
Here's William on his horse, Bubbles, who had an overactive salivary gland and blew saliva bubbles the whole trek. The older William gets - the more this child scares the living daylights out of me with his absolute lack of fear. For example, this past Friday (two days ago), when I went to pick him up at the bus stop, I noticed that he had climbed our neighbors cherry tree to the very top, and was perched on the tippy top branches, trying to grab at the electric lines that ran overhead and which were virtually within his grasp before I realized what he was doing.
Did you hear me screaming all the way from Northern Virginia?
All the kids at the bus stop did. Which apparently, embarrassed William and I told him that he was lucky he wasn't killed ... if not by the jolt of electricity that would have passed through his body if he'd actually grabbed the lines - then by the hands of his very own mother for doing something so dumb.
See, I've talked to our kids until I've been blue in the face about the dangers of electricity. I know people who have been electrocuted and Charlie had a very close call a few years ago. So I've told the children how they should never, ever approach a downed line and they need to be extremely careful around lines in general. Oh, it might seem like they're listening but just when you feel like you've downloaded all of your earthly wisdom to them, they climb to the top of a cherry tree and act like they're on the juvenile (delinquent) team of Cirque du Soleil.
So it's no surprise that all William wants to do when he gets on a horse is RUN. Last year, he was put on a horse that had some spunk, so when William dug his heels in and yelled, "Giddiup!", the horse bolted in to a gallop. Since then, thankfully, all the horsemen that we've worked with have heeded my advice and put my son on the slowest horse in the group which, like good old Bubbles, seemed to be asleep on their feet. Much to William's chagrin.
Here's Carolyn - my biggest horse, nay, animal lover in the group. I've promised her that if we move to Texas, I will buy her a horse. (And probably me, too.) Y'all, they surely can't be that much harder to clean up after than a guinea pig. Right?
And here's Elizabeth (in her bright purple knee socks) on her horse. If she looks a little timid, it's because she is. Last year, on the last day of our horseback riding adventure, the frisky horse that she was on, reared up on two legs when another horse got too close. Elizabeth stayed on it, though, even when the horse landed and gave one big buck. She wasn't too happy about the situation and was ready to call it quits - so I jumped off my horse and put a line on the other horse to lead it back to the barn - while William sulked, "Why does she get to ride the fun horse? It's no fair!"
On the trail ...
Riding in to the sunset.
And here's an unexpected family shot.
It's not very often all six of us are in a picture, together. For those times when we are - it would be nice if we planned it a little better, and weren't say, standing directly in front of the setting sun.