Thursday, October 7, 2010

Zach The Horse

He was a part of my childhood, a constant presence that followed me through to adulthood. I nearly accidentally killed him in 2005, but old age finally caught up with him and the sweetest horse that ever lived, died yesterday.

(Hannah and Zach in Spring 2004)

He was a great big, chestnut gelding, with a gigantic head and an even bigger heart. Despite the fact that he was easily the most laid back horse on this hill, he maintained such respect and genteelness, he was at the top of the herd's pecking order (second only to Kayla who is neither nice nor sweet). Kids learned to ride on him (including myself), and while he would never in a million years be anything but gentle, he stubbornly ignored all commands until you learned to sit firmly in the saddle and issue them correctly. The best part was, that unlike most mellow horses, he still had that spark of personality in his eye and he could run like the wind out on the trail.

Once, Jim and everyone else on the hill was out of town. I was home alone with the infant Jamie, it was a foggy, dark night and someone knocked at my door. I cautiously asked who was there, got no reply and after commanding my beating heart to calm down, I opened the door to...nobody. Thinking I had been hearing things, I locked the door and turned the TV back on. This time there was a knock at my kitchen window. Again, I gave a quivering "Hello??" before sticking my head out the window and seeing...nothing. By the time the third knock came, I was beyond all semblance of calm or brave. I got the shotgun out from under the bed, despite having no idea how to load it or even where the shells were (don't judge me). I figured if worse came to worse, it was also the closest thing to a club I had in the house.

Sure enough, another knock came at the front door, and this time I was crouched and ready for the sinister intruder. I threw open the door, empty shotgun at the ready, and into my living room swung the biggest horse head you've ever seen. Seems someone (me probably) forgot to lock the corral gate, and Zach was snacking his way in circles around my house.

Good thing I don't know how to load a shotgun.

We miss you Zach, and I'm sad my kids won't get to grow up riding you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Catch A Falling Star With Air Pirates

It's a good thing mom's don't have quarterly reviews, or managers overseeing their projects...because I'd be fired in a hot second. I'm pretty sure most people don't howl like a coyote when their son's carseat malfunctions and has to be taken out of the car, the straps all redone and the carseat put back. In my defense, installing a carseat correctly almost requires an engineering degree these days and if you're already late for work, it quickly becomes disastrous. So disastrous that my children have taken to admonishing their carseats before they climb into them. "Now be nice to mommy carseat, we don't like it when she yells."

Then there are days like yesterday where I look around in amazement and wonder how I won the mommyhood lottery, since I'm pretty sure there is nothing more fun than eating a picnic dinner, outside, during a thunderstorm, while discussing how air pirates manage to sail their airships around lightening. Epic. Since we're west coasters, we don't see much in the storm department around here. I celebrated by making beef stew, which we were dutifully trying to eat at the kitchen table when Jamie suggested raindrops would be so much better than his breath at cooling down his food. I couldn't fault his logic, so we packed up our dinner and headed outside. I'm sure you're not supposed to eat a picnic in a thunderstorm, since I really know nothing about lightening safety, but how can you resist the thrill of raindrops in your steamy soup while you laugh and get soaked, the ground rumbling beneath you as the sky sounds like it's being ripped apart? Later it was hot baths for everyone and snuggles on the couch while we worked through a stack of picture books and ate ice cream. Basically, my idea of a perfect day.

Jamie is at that age where he doesn't have a clear grasp on the difference between make believe and reality. Most of his playing involves some sort of dragon/harrypotter/airbending/moving castle mash up. Charlie is at an age where his vocabulary is just now blossoming into motor mouth, and while I only understand a fraction of what he says, he does say some things quite clearly. Like "pancakes", "Mom", "Dad" and "Barnabas"... it worried me though, because why doesn't he say "Jamie"? He has more aunts and uncles than most people have christmas lights, and those names he's got down pretty well too, but Jamie? Never crosses his lips. Jim finally figured it out when he went through all of our names with Charlie and then pointed to Jamie. "What's his name?"


Apparently Jamie has completely convinced his little brother to call him "Aang" from Avatar The Last Airbender. I should have picked up on it a long time ago, since Jamie introduces himself as Aang half the time, and at the playground it's not unusual to hear multiple kids calling for Aang. But I never caught on that when Charlie is yelling for Aang all day...he's really referring to Jamie. I figure Jamie must have exuded some powerful, big brother influence, because I cannot get Charlie to say Jamie at. all.

I finally got around to taking "Aang's" five year old portraits the other day. Tried to do Charlie too, but that required a longer attention span from both my children and the sun.

The storm is gone today and the morning sunlight was reflecting so brightly off a little metal bowl in the front yard that Jamie looked out the window and gasped in delight. "Mom, a star fell into our front yard." Nothing could convince him he hadn't actually caught a falling star, and so the tiny metal bowl is tied to his waist. He won't let Charlie touch it, because it came from outer space.