Monday, April 30, 2012

Yee Haw, It's the Minnesota Horse Expo!

Yup, it's Expo time again!  I worked the Minnesota Horse Expo for the first time last year and had so much fun that I was looking forward to helping out again this year.

My sister, Errin, and her husband, Neal, own RM Tack & Apparel, a clothing and western and english tack store right next door to us.  I started working for them in an official capacity last month and have loved every minute of it.  I'm still working on my official title...

They reserve 16 booth spaces for the Expo which takes up an entire aisle in the cattle barn at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  I was awed last year when I showed up and saw how professional their "store on wheels" looked.  An amazing amount of planning and work go into making it happen so I thought I'd take a few photos and show off our hard work this year.  Truthfully, I only spent six hours helping with set up so I can't take much credit.  It takes a good sized crew two very long days to get it looking this good.

We've got saddles, helmets, horse tail extensions and more in the corner.

More saddles, pads and the big, black horse modeling a fly sheet.

The check out stand with our deflated balloons.  I should have taken
my photos the first day we were open!

Tack, tack and more tack!

One of our smiling employees, my daughter, Leah.

Jeans, t-shirts and more jeans.

Twisted X boots, the most comfortable cowboy boots out there.

Neal and I spent Thursday morning inflating and assembling our floating horse arches.
We had more people stop and ask us how we did it!  Our booth extended from the arch
on this end allll the way down to the other arch in the distance!

Miss Me jeans in assorted varieties with a portion of our
show clothing collection in the background.

Gina and Errin behind the counter. 
Do you like our new RM Tack sweatshirt designed by yours truly?

All in all, I think the Expo was a success for RM Tack & Apparel.  We were almost always busy with customers.  You really get to see all sides of humanity when you work with that many people for three long days.  Most people were really nice but there were a few difficult customers.  It was decided that I "won" the most outrageous encounter of the weekend with this humdinger:

I was helping a lady look for jeans when she asked me if I minded if she dumped her coffee out on our carpet.  I told her not to dump her coffee, that I would get rid of it for her.  Turns out she had a nice travel coffee mug with a lid that she obviously didn't want to throw away, so she told me it really wasn't THAT much coffee and proceeded to dump it on our carpet, right in front of my disbelieving eyes.  It takes a lot to make me speechless, but at that moment, I was.  She patted it into the carpet with her hand and told me the carpet was dirty anyway and what would a little more "dirt" (or, in this case, coffee) hurt?  Really?  Was she serious?  I felt as though I had just taken a trip to crazy town.  What an inconsiderate nut!  She didn't buy any jeans and went on her merry way.  Good Riddance!

The Expo wrapped up at 5:00pm last night and we spent the next five hours breaking things down and loading everything in to three very large trailers.  By the time we were done we were all exhausted.  The Minnesota Horse Expo is pretty intense.  It's a lot of fun and a lot of work crammed into five extremely full days.  I loved it though and next year, Lord willing, I'll be back in the cattle barn, smiling, selling, sorting and more.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Emily!

My beautiful daughter in her youngers days...

and Emily today.

I don't know how it happened but I became the mother of a 19 year old today.


It's so cliche but I can't help myself.  It truly does seem like just yesterday we were welcoming our firstborn into the world.  Life hasn't been the same since and I'm glad.

As you can see, she's a beautiful young woman, both inside and out.  I've enjoyed watching her blossom and mature into the interesting person she is today and look forward to seeing what the future holds for her.  I thank God every day for blessing us with our girl.  

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kim and Sandy, You Ladies Rock!

I am blessed to have friends in my life all the way back from the 80's.  Friends that have been with me through thick and thin over the years.  I treasure my friendship with Kim and Sandy so I was especially excited that we were able to get away for a weekend together.  We went up north and stayed two nights at Kim's cabin, which, coincidently, is just a few minutes away from our cabin.  

While we were there we went hiking on the beautiful Birkebeiner ski trail.

We discussed going for a swim but reason prevailed.

We also had dinner out at Famous Dave's, a Round Lake institution.

And, finally, here we cleaning up on our final morning, before we headed back home.

Here's the thing I've found through the years.  You've got to be very deliberate about maintaining friendships, or they wither and die from neglect.  I'm so grateful for both Sandy and Kim and their willingness to invest in a friendship that has now spanned decades.  I admire and love them both!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring Means Baseball!

Daniel's team had their first couple baseball games last week.  We had fun cheering them on, even though the second game was a little wet and chilly.

Here they are, looking great in their new uniforms, cheering on their teammates at bat.

Daniel in the outfield...

Waiting for a ball to come his way.

At bat!

He got walked and made it to first base but no further.

His friend and teammate, Izaak, dashing for home!

Daniel up at bat at the second game.

You can't tell, but he got a hit!  A nice one right up the center but he got thrown
out at first.  The pitcher was pretty good so he's happy to have his first "official" hit.

Boys and baseball, what's not to love?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Randomness...

Life's busy on the ranch so to catch you all up I threw a few photos on here of things we've been doing lately...

The girls posing for me for a postcard I created for my sister's store.  I have a job now, helping promote RM Tack & Apparel.  It's a wonderful tack and clothing store right next door to us at the farm I grew up on.  I don't know what my job title should be, maybe Errin's Right Hand Sister?

Daniel at St. Anne's School Art Fair.  He created the little orange dude, among other things.

Daniel also had the distinction of being the 6th grade Student of the Month.

The girls and their friend Jessie at a belated birthday party for Leah.

A beautiful sunrise in early spring, before our trees leafed out.  Such pretty colors!

Emily and her Uncle Neal at Easter.

Perky, Bruce, Daniel and I at Nelson's Dairy Store.  They are known for their enormous cones. 
A delicious family landmark!

Emily has taken up yoga.  I was amazed and inspired by this pose!  She's really flexible now.

Last but not least...  The naughty dog in the laundry cart. 
I wonder what kind of mischief she's gotten into now?