Mar

27

marengo.jpgThe cold spell is finally over – for now, at any rate. Time to put away the snow blower, the snow shovel, and the snow plough. Time to dig out the tee-shirts and shorts – and the photos we’ve taken over the past few months. You can see what we’ve been up to over the last few months – enjoying the dogs, meeting Fiona with Mike and his family, watching Diana graduate as a police officer, and Orla and I riding Trunket and Marengo – the pics are here!

We’re so lucky having Southlands down the road ! Orla has been having a blast going for pony rides on Trunket; in fact, such a good time that I decided to get a horse of my own. (Maybe it’s ’cause I watched too many John Wayne movies or read too many Zane Grey westerns as a kid. Whatever the reason, I recently bought a 16H quarter horse, which had previously known as “CC After Five” and “Walter”, but which I renamed Marengo. (Why Marengo ? Because it was the name of Napoleon’s most famous horse) !

I’m a complete beginner, but having great fun – and one of the great things about Marengo is that he does both English and Western.

Western is probably what I’ll end up doing most of, since it’s great for trail riding. There are 75 miles of trails around Rhinebeck, so the two of us will be spending a lot of time together during the summer. While Southlands teaches English riding, I figured that I’ll go here to learn Western. By the time I get back, The Duke’ll have nothing on me !

Orla and Eoghan are growing up real fast. Orla has become quite the little lady,and full of conversation – and a great sense of humour. But sometimes she plays favourites. Last night, when I came home from work, I asked her for a kiss :

Orla, can I have a kiss ?

I’m sorry Daddy, they’re all gone. I gave them all to Mommy !

Eoghan, meantime, is happy to be with anyone who’ll sit down with him to admire his trucks or his choo-choo, or to go jump ina mud puddle with him.

The kids are glad to be back home, but Orla misses her lizards and chameleons from Florida. (That’s despite her ever-growing menagerie, which by now encompasses a cat, two dogs, two rabbits, a pony and multiple fish !) 

Mar

9

We’re finally back home. Jenn and the kids were away for the last three weeks, on holidays in Orlando, Florida. They had a great time, enjoying swimming in the pool every day and learning about the local wildlife. Orla had lots of fun catching lizards, frogs and snails, catching them every evening and taking them to sleep with her before releasing them in the morning.

The kids turned into very accomplished swimmers (or floaters, at least). With their Mae West life jackets on, they were content to splash away for hours in the pool, kicking and splashing their way from one end to the other, and then starting over again. Eoghan is a real daredevil, and loved nothing better than to take off his life jacket while in the middle of the pool. We had to keep an eagle eye on him…

Seaworld was a great hit with the kids. Orla in particular fell in love with the animals, including the polar bears, whales, clown fish, dolphins and whales. But her favourites were the sharks. She begged to go swimming with them. We hope she’ll settle for the dolphins, at Discovery Cove on our next trip down south.

Meanwhile, as the rest of the family enjoyed their three weeks in the sun, I had to make do with just two weekends there. Work kept me busy in New York for two weeks, and then I spent a week in Germany with a stop-off in Dublin for a night. I managed to add an extra day on to the second weekend in Florida, before bringing the crew back to Rhinebeck – and the snow. It’s miserable weather here again; everyone misses Orlando already.

Still, at least we get to see the various animals again, including the latest addition, Marengo, our 16H quarter horse.

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