We spent the 4th of July at the Rodeo. Our boys were cRaZy excited because they were entered in the calf riding for their first time. I was cRaZy worried and exicted for them at the same time. To me, I can’t imagine ever wanting to climb up on a bucking calf just to see how many seconds I could hold on for dear life, just to be thrown to the ground like some horrible wrestling move. But my boys…now they are wired so different. It is just about all they have talked, dreamed, and planned for since the last Rodeo. And because I want them to live life with a passion, and that passion currently is calf riding, I signed them up.
Grandpa Luke and Grandma Beth flew out special for this weekend. Not only did we have the Rodeo, Julia, Laura, and Eric all had birthdays to celebrate. I love having them visit. They fly all the way from NC, and we just have the best of times when they are with us. They fill an aching void that has existed in our life for so many years. Having them here bless me so much. Beth reads to the children while I make dinner. So instead of everybody in the kitchen asking for the hundredth time when dinner will be done, I cook in total solitude. And they all snuggle up on the couch and listen to Grandma read. I think everyone of us loves it! And when we go out, that gives us 4 extra hands in holding and herding children. We keep trying to convince them they should make a permanent trip out here!!
About 5 days before the rodeo, I woke up in the middle of the night and panicked. I could just see the boys being stomped on by these rather large calfs. I remembered seeing kids in catchers helmets and body/chest vests. I determined to buy these items first thing in the morning. Finding the vest proved to be a challenge. No local store carried them. So I combed the internet until I found one in Maine. These are the vests that a child would wear when riding a horse, so if thrown and stepped on, the damage would be minimal. With expedited shipping, I was guaranteed it would arrive in time for the Rodeo. Next was the helmet. Much easier. The local sporting goods store had them. After securing these items, I felt like as a mother, I had done my best in trying to protect them from any injuries they might get. Eric laughed at me and asked if I was over reacting. Maybe. But I wasn’t the only mother that had those same thoughts. Alot of those boys were wearing helmets and vests. So were the men.
Ben and Michael had a blast riding the calf. They were thrown hard. But never shed a tear. We have some tough cowboys around here. 😉 I have a video, if I can figure out how to post it, I will put it on here. The rest of the Rodeo was super fun. We saw bull riding, calf tying, bronco riding, barrel racing. The weather was perfect… hot with a breeze. There was shade over the bleachers, so we were very comfortable.
On the way home we saw a camel. Normally, we would have just pointed it out and gone on. But we stopped. Gabe had spent the last few days telling us that he had lost his camel. Now I have no idea where he created this lost animal. I can’t remember any book that we read or event that we attended that would have pointed his imagination this way. But for days, he had stood on our front porch every few hours and hollered for his camel. “CAMEL, where are you??? CAAAMMMEL, come home!!” Then he would come find me and tell me that his camel was not listening to him. We would go outside and look across the canyon to the other side and he would point and say “I SEE HIM!” And them more hollering to beckon his camel home. We put out water, a bowl of fruit snacks, but still no camel. So what are the odds, that we would find a camel on the side of the road giving camel rides??? Maybe because we serve a God who is so big and cares so much for each one of us, that he wanted to delight our little Gabe with a camel ride. Upon seeing the camel, Gabe immediately claimed it as his missing camel. Grandpa got out with Gabe and got him up on that camel. And Gabe rode like a king up there. We were all so thrilled for him. Other than the wildlife park, I don’t think I have ever seen a camel in this state. After riding, Gabe told us his camel was going to stay there. We talked about how it would live in it’s barn and maybe we could see him next year. He agreed and has not looked for his camel since. I love the imagination of my children. They are playing rodeo as I type this. The older boys have a belt buckle strapped around their chest. They all have there “cowboy” /western shirts on. The little ones are making sheep and calf sounds. They have shoots set up and an announcer. And belt buckles for the winners. They make me smile.
Packing into the rodeo
Nana and Jules
Ben on his calf
Michael on his calf
one too many rodeos. 😉
Josh in his cowboy gear
Grandpa Luke and Gabe
Jules slept right through the screaming and cheering!!
my cowgirl hat. found it at the thrift store and added the feather and flower
Eric and his parents
Grandpa Luke and Jules
Getting Maryann ready for the Mutton Bustin.
Gabe’s favorite place to be…Grandpa Luke’s arms
Josh in his cowboy chaps
Beth brought her new camera and got some awesome shots. this horse is hers.
look at this cows expression. Priceless.
Maryann’s belt from her last rodeo
Our best friends