Thursday, July 28, 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Christmas in July is a pretty big deal for our family.  Since my parents only come up from Florida for 6-8 weeks in the summer, we celebrate in July with them.  It's a really nice time and we all enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunrises across Michigan

Over the past few months I've started this collection of sunrise pictures.  It started in June with this picture looking out over Grand Traverse Bay before an early morning meeting there.  A storm was moving in and the sky was dark but you could still see a tiny rim of the sunrise.

This one is still one of my favorites even though it was taken through my front windshield.  This is just after you go under Cobo Hall coming into Downtown Detroit.  The GM Renaissance Center is on the right.

 Considering I get up early for work every day, getting up early for a horse show isn't such a big deal any more.  We had just loaded Stanley into the trailer when I turned around and looking out over the arena, there was this awesome sunrise.  This would technically be Superior Township near Ann Arbor.

Moving back into Downtown Detroit (hey, I'm there early lots of mornings!), looking out over the Detroit River with several barges moving through, it wasn't much of a sunrise as just a magical looking morning.

I seem to catch a lot of great sunrises while driving to work in the morning...considering I leave for work at 6 and the sun rises just after that most of the summer, it seems to make sense.  This was driving down M-14 near Plymouth.

I love this one.  I left for Bellaire, MI at 4 am one morning.  I was about half way when I stopped at a rest stop and looked up to this magnificent scene.

Again on the way to work near Plymouth.  I thought there might be a fire burning at first but as it got a little higher it was very clear it was a beautiful sunrise.

I think this one is my favorite and it's about as close to home as I could get.  Just across the street looking out across Whitmore Lake.  This was again from my car window with my cell phone looking through the iron gate of the apartments that own this section of beach front.  Spectacular.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Little Bug

Friday night we were in Allegan, MI at the fairgrounds for a horse show the next day.  We'd had a good rain earlier in the afternoon which probably is what knocked this little guy to the ground.  When Equestrian Girl first saw him, she didn't think it was real.  So she poked him with a bare toe.  And screamed when he moved.  We were camped next to our friends Sheri and Dan and he was on their camp rug near our chairs.

This pic is kind of blurry but you can get a better perspective of how little this guy was.  That's Dan taking a picture and Equestrian Girl's foot nearby.   Right away we went about finding out what it was.  Sheri posted her pic on FaceBook and I sent my picture to some horsey friends.  

It wasn't long until we found out it was a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.  This picture was sent by a friend who was helping to identify our mystery bug.

This is what he will turn in to some day.

Hard to imagine that a bug that looks like a comic character could turn in to something so beautiful and graceful.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Long Lost Memorial Day APHA Show

I'm not sure what the heck happened to this set of pictures.  Normally I try to post in chronological order but this one...well it was an interesting show anyway. When we arrived Friday it was chilly and on the heels of lots and lots of rain.  We got parked in a spot that was relatively close but in the mud - or it turned to mud after we walked in it enough.  But our friends the Testers were there with us for the first time in a couple years so we were happy.

The first day was good but LLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGG.

Equestrian girl did awesome - 4 judges the first day and lots of 1st and high placings.

That's our friend D on Danny in the blue shirt to the right of Equestrian Girl.

Here's a better picture.

Classes were pretty big - people come from all over for this show.  It was even bigger than last year - and that was big.

This girl behind Equestrian Girl was for Georgia!  She had the cutest little accent and white pony.

Here's friend D in her new Western outfit.  It was so pretty!

Western classes didn't get started until late afternoon/early evening.  You can tell everyone is starting to get tired.

I have no idea why I took this picture or what they were looking at.

I also don't know why EG is smiling - it was getting really late.

We FINALLY started trail class about 2 a.m.  Yes, as in well after midnight.  I seriously thought EG was going to call asleep in the saddle and Stanley was cat napping as much as he could with his nose tucked up against my back.  We were walking zombies when we finished at 3 a.m.  This was novice youth trail.

We changed shirts for Youth Trail.  Don't ask.  It was 2:30 a.m. and I wasn't going to argue.

We got to sleep in a bit on Sunday since it's just a "fun" day but we awoke to rising temps and humidity and some threatening storms.  But before they hit, the girls had fun doing egg and spoon, ride a buck, etc.

D's sister H wanted to ride Stanley.  I thought she knew where to sit!

Ah, I guess she does.

After all the fun and games, the rain started so they moved the picnic into the spectator area of the arena. We all ate and the storms got worse.  There were tornado warnings and most of us evacuated to the concrete block bathrooms - the rain was coming in sideways and blowing in 75 feet from the door.  It finally passed but touched down in several places close by and knocked out the power.

The next day...we had a horse show in the dark!  With no Public Announcing system, the announcer had his job cut out and we all had to be diligent about telling people in our barns which class was in when we came back.  Lots of cooperation kept it running like clockwork and we actually got done fairly early. It was a different kind of show with no power and high temps but it all worked out and EQ did fantastic winning both Novice Youth High Point and 13 and Under High Point!!!

Face of friends and family

My beautiful daughter

 My children

My tough looking son

My contemplative son

My proud son

My happy daughter

My buddy Mark


Connor and his girl, K

Stanley and his girl


My son riding with his eyes closed

Equestrian Girl's "love him like a brother"

My upset son

My daughter looking proper in English turn-out

Friend T