Barrel Racing Mommas

The temperatures have started warming up and the snow is officially gone, so it can only mean one thing: barrel racing season is upon us. Most of us are just starting to find our horses under all the mud and hair and have begun taking to the backroads or hills to get workouts in. Although, there are a few of the lucky ones who have hauled all winter and kept their horses slick and shiny and I applaude them. Every winter I have big plans to haul to the arena 45 minutes away, but after going once and realizing that it turns into a 4 hour endeavour, I lost the energy to commit. Gone are the days of hauling after school and staying until midnight — adulting has once again taken it’s toll! But, nontheless, I went to my first jackpot of the season on Sunday with my furry and fat mare and had a great time getting back into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to head out on my own and enjoy a free day (something I am always grateful for) but pulling up on my own without my trusty sidekick of a mom really got me thinking. I am so used to having her in the passenger seat that it felt a bit foreign to be driving to a jackpot without her (my secret is out) and even though it does happen on occasion where we both can’t go, it’s still a weird feeling.

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Just the princess and I

The barrel racing world can come across as overwhelming to some people, and it typically isn’t too far off from the general first impression it leaves. I mean, you throw a bunch of high strung horses and women together and hope for the best, but once you get past the surface, its pretty easy to see that it’s a total family event. On Sunday the arena was packed, and it was great to see all the familiar faces once again. It’s almost as if it’s a whole other world once the season starts because you basically see the same group of women every weekend from now until September. What gets me the most is seeing so many of the youth competitors from the season before and how much they have grown up or changed and it’s always neat to see them step up onto faster horses (most of which were handed down from their mom) and watch them get more competetive as the years go by. Obviously becoming a mom has made me more sensitive to this, but come on, it’s a cool sight to see.

I cannot say enough about the barrel racing mommas that we come across though. These women are the most selfless, hard working people that you will ever meet. A lot of times, and it was evident on Sunday, they will forgo bringing their own horses and focus solely on coaching and helping their kids. These women are badass. They are the ones who help lead the hot horses from one end of the arena to the other, they are the ones who yell from the sidelines and they are the ones who go through every detail of their child’s run to find where time was lost and how to get it back (plus they always find the best angle to video from). These women wear invisible capes whenever they are at a rodeo or jackpot and do it all with a smile. Plus, I’m not only talking about the ones with young kids. I’m talking about all the moms that hop in with their daughter and are there every step of the way. Some of them run their own horses as well, and some are there for the moral support and the pure enjoyment they get out of watching their child ride, whether they are an adult or not. Its pretty awesome when you think about it. That kind of support can be hard to find, and to have it in your own mom is beyond great.

It doesn’t matter what level you are at, whether it’s a local jackpot, amateur rodeo or even professional rodeo, you will always find a barrel racer with her mom or dad near by. Family support is key in this sport and I know I honestly couldn’t do it without mine. Even Fallon Taylor has her mom and dad on the road with her to help with the horses and making sure every rhinestone is in place, and to me that’s pretty heartwarming. It’s definitely what I love about this sport and how any given weekend you can meet up with other families and have a good time competing and visiting. It makes me even more excited to have Casey grow up in that atmosphere as well because all the kids you find at barrel races generally know what hard work and dedication is, and that’s something you hope sticks with them. Plus, there’s never a shortage of help at jackpots, so you know your kid is in good hands even when you’re riding and warming up (bonus!) I guess these youngsters come by it honestly ¬†though because they constantly see their moms working non-stop to make sure things are looked after and taken care of. It’s no easy feat loading up the trailer full of kids and horses and heading out for the weekend, so they definitely deserve a pat on the back (or a bottle of wine). Not many people will haul a trailer for hours on end, unpack, pay entry fees, run their own horse and video their daughters run, plus make sure everyone is fed and happy. Rodeo moms are a real hidden gem and if you have one you should be proud!

Needless to say, I am very excited for the season to get underway and definitely need to get these ponies in shape. But, I think what I’m most excited about is having my mom and my little guy there with me for it all. Hopefully one day Casey will say the same thing about me, but for now he can provide us with entertainment and a workout as we chase him all over the place. I’m predicting this year of jackpotting to be quite different than the last, but I’m up for the challenge. Thankfully the kid loves the outdoors and horses so I’m sure it’ll be a blast for us all. Or maybe complete chaos, you never actually know with kids, that’s what makes this parenting gig so much fun *Wink, wink*

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Casey Turns 1

April 1st has forever changed for me. It used to be a day full of pranks and genuine laughter, but now not only is it that, but it’s my baby’s birthday. On Friday I woke up with a sense of excitement and emotions were high. I was up until midnight the night before preparing Casey’s birthday cake (which I am definitely not a baker) and pulling off yet another joke on my Poppa. April Fool’s had always been “our” day and for many consecutive years we have pranked each other with great success. This year I kept it simple, and inbetween baking each layer of cake I snuck to his house and hung up a huge decoy owl right at his garage door to greet him in the morning (insert evil laugh). So needless to say when I woke up Friday morning I was bouncing with excitement for the day’s activities, but also for that phone call when the surprise finally got him.

For Casey’s birthday we decided to invite just family over that night and the plan was to roast hot dogs over the fire and enjoy some good food and cupcakes. It ended up being a beautiful day (I’m talking t-shirt weather) and you could definitely tell Casey knew something was up. He was absolutely goofy as soon as he woke up, and I had set up a teepee full of balloons to surprise him right after breakfast. As soon as he saw it his face lit up and he was bouncing around laughing and playing with the balloons (which by the way are a mother’s worst nightmare). I was on edge the whole time waiting for him to pop one with his teeth and potentially swallow it, scarring him for life and creating a life long fear of balloons. Sheesh, I can already feel the grey hairs sprouting. Aaaaaanyways, we basically filled the day up with decororating and prepping the food, so it went by pretty quickly. My theme, as mentioned in my first post, was a basic outdoorsy theme with lots of plaid, blue and gold. I was sooooo happy with how it all turned out and came together.

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About 80% of the decorations were made, with the rest being dollar store or Etsy purchases. The week before I had Case paint his canvas with the number one because I knew I had wanted to display it and incorprate it into the dessert table. It definitely brightened it up, which I loved. His cake took quite a while and experimenting, but I’m definitely happy with how it came together. I decided to do a healthier cake for him because I didn’t think loading him up with sugar before bed would be the best idea. The icing was super simple as well, it was greek yogurt, cream cheese, honey and cinnamon whipped up (which tasted amazing) so it definitely helped keep the sugar levels down. My cousin was kind of enough to supply the stumps and slab of wood and I was able to gather pieces of the spruce and pine trees from around the house as accents.

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Before the mess

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For his backdop, I kept things easy and was able to get the huge number 1 balloon and custom banner off of Etsy and then for his high chair I was able to make the garland myself. I have a hard time spending money on things that I know I could easily make, so this was right up my alley. I went all out and decided to let Casey go after his cake all on his own (brave, I know) and it was totally awesome. Once he realized he could dig in, it was game on. He dived in head first and at one point I thought he was going to launch it off the high chair. YOLO right? He might not have eaten a whole lot of it but he definitely had fun demolishing it, and that’s all that mattered. After a quick bath, he came back out and “opened” his presents, which was basically him playing with the first toy he got out of the box and me taking care of the rest. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

It was definitely a great night and I was so happy to have all the family come out and celebrate him. There was a lot of reminiscing about how things were so different on that day a year ago, and how much he has changed in the last 12 months. I was able to print out each of his monthly pictures I had taken and hung them up for everybody to see. It definitely made my heart hurt to see how he wasn’t a little baby anymore and the fact that I barely remembered him being so tiny. But alas, it has been great watching him grow and turn into such a vibrant little boy. I can’t slow down time so I might as well enjoy it as it goes and cherish the changes as they come along. I can’t imagine how different he will be in another year and it’s exciting and heart breaking at the same time. Why didn’t anyone tell me that being a mom would be so full of emotions?! I don’t think I signed up to turn into quite a big softy, but here I am. My heart was full at the end of the night and Casey sure felt the effects of the party because he slept in until 8:30 the next morning (winning). All in all, it was a great day for a great kid.

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The Cutest Birthday Dude