Sunday, October 31, 2010

1000 gifts: fall edition

The 1000 gifts is a list of all the gifts God has given me that I'm thankful for.

91. Stars falling in love with a new horse
Stars finally got her horse sold after trying for over a year (for twice as much her family originally paid for her - all the hard work with training paid off!) She needed a taller horse because she's gotten so tall, almost 5 foot 9 inches. We were able to contribute some money to help buy her new horse. Roy is a 16.2 hands tall Quarter Horse and he has an impressive show record in both English and Western pleasure and equitation - Stars is thrilled! Unfortunately show season is over for the year, but watch out for this pair next spring!

92. A palomino horse for the girls
To help purchase Star's horse, B. sold one of the horses he trained for a decent profit (though not quite as impressive as Star's profit). He started looking for a new "investment" horse and found a 7 year old palomino mare that the owner had been trying to sell for a long time. He got her for a mere $800 (registered name "Political Whistler"). B. gave her a what I thought was a wonderful stable name: "Spring" (a breath of fresh air). The mystery to us is why we got her so cheap; she was supposedly a problem horse but B. rode her several times and couldn't discover her problem. So he let Blaze start riding her, and she's turned out to be a great horse for her. The kids were so excited - they've been asking for a palomino ever since Stars brought her palomino horse to stay with us a couple years ago. The twins will still look out the window at the paddock and cry out "Palo-mino!" if they see Spring.

93. Top 10 things overheard at the dinner table that show your child is becoming a pirate
Found this at funny website, (thankyou, Jess Lawson)
#9 "I've buried me treasure in the mashed potatos"
#5 "I'll need another ration of grog if you expect me to eat these peas."
#4 "If I eat all my food, can I plunder the neighbors before I go to bed?"

94. Is that where the Indian shot you?
Gracie was flirting her very best and showing off her bellybutton to our friends and Danny says "oh, is that where the Indian shot you?" I've never heard that saying before, it must be a western thing but it still cracks me up!

95. J.K. Rowling's speech at Harvard's commencement
A great quote from J.K. Rowling: ‎"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default." From her speech at Harvard's 2008 commencement. This was an amazing inspirational speech, I have a whole new respect for J.K. Rowling as a person, instead of just as a bestselling author.

96. Hogwarts vs. Harvard
On the lighter side regarding Rowling and Harry Potter, I found a new quote to love: "you pick books over television, libraries to malls, e-books to PSPs and given the choice, YOU'D CHOOSE HOGWARTS OVER HARVARD EVERY SINGLE TIME." (This is from T.H. Mafi's blog,; she blogs the funniest analogies and stories about being a writer struggling to get published).

97. Building enough bookshelves
Yet another wonderful quote: “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” Anna Quindlen

98. A new kind of sibling: the "brother-sister"
Starlet tells her sitter that she has a brother. "Who's your brother?" Heather asks. "My sister! She's my brother-sister!"

99. When three year olds mix up names
Serious sometimes gets mixed up and calls my mom "Grandpa" and my dad "Grandma"

100. A new road sign featuring Gandalf
Road signs like these would make long trips so much more interesting:

101. the Bellagio fountain show
In early September, my work sent me to Vegas for training; I was amazed by the Bellagio fountain show. After the training, I was able to spend the evening and the next day with Dianna and her kids. They took me to see the Valley of Fire, fantastic sandstone formations.

102. Integrated remote polling devices
At the end of September, my work also sent me and a co-worker to Orlando for a conference. I didn't actually get off the hotel grounds, though. I was tempted to go see Harry Potter World, but it wouldn't have been much fun by myself. However I did enjoy a couple evenings relaxing by the elaborate pool and garden. A half-mile long lazy river snaked around the entire pool/garden area, complete with pretty arching bridges and misters. My co-worker Shawn and I gave a joint presentation on our project related to geospatial data standards. The fun things about this presentation was that we used powerpoint with integrated remote polling devices. We got to poll the audience just like in "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" and then the software would instantly produce a graph of the results in our powerpoint. So cool!

103. Fall colors at Kebler Pass, Colorado
 By the time I got back from Orlando, the fall colors had already reached their peak in Laramie. I was eager for our traditional fall-color drive. This year I mapped out a route for us in central Colorado (past years we've gone to Estes Park or Aspen Alley in Wyoming). I did some research on the web to find a new area to visit and found this amazing website, which listed the top five or six fall color drives in Colorado. We drove down to Steamboat Springs and spent the night in a hotel there. The next day we drove south to Paonia and then over Kebler Pass to Crested Butte. This pass goes through the biggest stand of aspen trees in Colorado, and even though we hit past peak color, it was still amazing. From Crested Butte, we took a beautiful little forest road that ran alongside the Taylor River. We stopped and had lunch right along the river, cooking steak and hotdogs over a small bonfire. Then we continued up the road to Cottonwood Pass, which is one of the highest passes in Colorado (12,119 ft). The views from this pass of the Sawatch Range (which include Mts Princeton, Harvard and Yale as well as the highest Colorado mountain, Mt Elbert) rival the amazing views from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

104. A river baptism with bagpipes
Absolutely unheard of in Laramie: no snow for halloween. The girls loved trick or treating of course, but this is what I loved: after church, a young boy Blaze's age (9 years old) gave his testimony and got baptized in the Laramie river. Extra special: a bagpiper present to celebrate by playing Amazing Grace. I eagerly hope for the day when I see my girls get baptized, because that will mean they have a testimony of coming to know Jesus as their savior.