Okay, so is this kid cool or what? Joe won this super-bad chopper in a drawing before Magnus was even born, and I've been dying to pull it out and assemble it ever since. I figured a 1 1/2 year old should be able to learn to ride, so we finally dug out the bike and he's actually doing pretty well! He's definitely figured out how to twist the handle to go and stop, and I think the whole turning/steering thing is nearly within his grasp also. Clear the sidewalks! Vroom! Rappity Rap Rap Rap... VROOOOOOM!!
I pulled the kitchen trash out of the can the other day, and set it on the floor only to find Magnus ready to help! It weighed about 1/3 as much as he does, but he picked it up anyway and was hauling it around the house in perfect macho fashion. =) Taking out the trash isn't designated to any certain person in our household - it's just not something that's a big deal. If it needs done, he or she (or should I say, him or me!) takes it out. Somehow both of my men are more than happy to take out the kitchen trash for me, but when it comes to the diaper pail, I usually look around and realize that I'm on my own. Coincidence? I think not. Joe has this really cool ability to hold his breath for a long time though, and I'm quickly - but not quickly enough - learning to do the same! Maybe I should just learn to empty the diaper pail in 10 seconds so I don't pass out from lack of oxygen! I usually run out of breath right at the most crucial time in pail-emptying, and I have to gasp a big gulp of air just at the WRONG moment. Just thinking about it makes me want to camp out in the Yankee Candle Co.
Pastor Melvin taking his 2 1/2 y.o. niece Elaina (from Chicago) for a little ride on E-Z.
Well folks, I am happy to announce that God has answered my prayers and sent us some wonderful new friends - all the way from Idaho! They are the Assoc. Pastors at our church in Richmond that is a new church plant. We've only known them for about a month, but we've become great friends already and I can tell we're going to have loads of fun together. Hopefully they're ready for likes of us, because we've gone without close (nearby) friends for so long that we have to make up for several years of lost friend-time! Suddenly VA feels more like home, even though we still believe most eastern VA natives to be just friendly-looking snobs. (Please excuse my frankness, but it's totally true. We've lived here for 7 years and have come to know what the people are really like.) As you can imagine, we're thrilled beyond measure to have such wonderful friends in Melvin and Tamela Adams. As a bonus, they love horses and have been coming over to ride with us some, and graciously put up with our stubborn old equines. Anyway, I know I'm posting lots of horse pictures these days, but I'll try to get on a different subject soon. As a side note, we haven't been able to ride Jake lately since he's been quite lame the last 3 days. We think he sprained his back leg and it's got swelling from his ankle clear up to his hock area. I hope he gets better soon! He can hardly put any weight on it at all and limps around pitifully. Would anyone kindly come volunteer to kiss his owwy-boo boo?
My faithful horse whisperer has been at it again! Joe's been getting up every possible morning at dawn to ride his project pony Xena. He has accomplished another goal in her training by teaching her that she can (and WILL) canter with a rider when commanded to do so. They can now be seen cantering across the field (see proof above - please forgive lousy photo quality) at a nice steady lope. It's a great way for Joe to take advantage of Xena's need to drop a few pounds, and he's helping her diet plan along beautifully. I believe, technically, that Xena could now be called "green broke" since she walks, trots and canters under saddle. I'm not sure if the occasional bucking/rearing episodes fit into the "broke" part very well, but at least they're getting fewer and farther between... I think. Oh well - you gotta' get your "yeehaw's" somehow!
We took my niece Erika to Maymont Park while she was here. It's a wonderful park in Richmond with wildlife habitats (for rehabbed animals) a little museum-type building with otters, owls, fish, etc. and several hundred acres of rolling hills and gigantic trees. The original "mansion" and barns are still on the property and can be toured. The gardens are beautiful, and the petting zoo is always a hit. My favorite thing is the black bears - they are so fun to watch. The one in the picture above kept digging around under the water until he found a stick to play with. He was so cute, I'm just sure he should belong in the petting zoo and not in that fenced in habitat. I would've petted him - wouldn't you?
While Erika was here over Labor Day weekend, she and Magnus had a lovely little tea party. Erika and I set it up (she even helped me wash the dishes) and then Magnus promptly found a seat and waited to be served. Erika was quite generous with the goldfish, and it was funny to see how she and Magnus each took tea. The first photo shows that they do things a bit differently. Magnus piled his goldfish into the cups that Erika had filled FULL of water (those little soggy fish swelled up to impressive sizes!) while Erika proceeded to pour her "tea" onto her plate. I guess their etiquette needs a bit of work.