I'm excited for Chad right now as well. He's starting up a second business to help earn some extra money called Poor Boy Chassis. He'll be putting together sand rail and rock buggy frames for his customers. We're just finishing up our second rail right now. We built one smaller rail for Chad's dad (to the right) and this week we sent our V8 rail in to get powder-coated. It's a beautiful red-orange with a pearl finish. It's really very pretty, almost coral in the sunlight. To offset the orange, certain parts are black satin, and it's stunning. It's our racing rail, unlike his dad's, which is our jumping/wheelie/play-time rail. Blaine's is nowhere near as fast, but we play a little harder in it (clearly). It's a lot of fun to have these to play in out at Pismo Beach. We wanted something we could both be in together, and when she's a little older, that Dakota can be in too. Blaine's rail is just a 2-seater, but ours is currently a 4-seater and will eventually become a 5-seater. Once we get finished pictures of it (later today) I'll post a few and give more details about it. The one picture I have is in it's unfinished stage, and it looks a little like Mater from Cars. Besides, I'll have more details from the races; speed, times, that kind of thing. It should be a lot of fun. We certainly enjoy them anyway.
We finally have Lucy, our boxer pup (although she's hardly a puppy anymore!), back at home. She's 11 months old now, and although I think she's already huge, she still has some growing to do. She's going to be a very big girl. And, typical of big dogs, she still thinks she's a lap dog, of course. She loves to sit in my lap every chance she gets. She's in heat right now, but normally I let her sit for a little while and then wrestle my way up. We're going camping in Jose Basin next weekend, and she'll be coming with us. She's so well behaved, we know we don't have to worry about her a bit. I'm just a little worried about the rattlesnakes. It's been really hot up there, but when we went to drop off a few of our friends' trailers and rope off our camp site, we saw a lot of jack rabbits, so I'm hoping that means their (the snakes, that is!)numbers are down. If we don't see a single one the entire time that we're camping, I'll be very pleased. The two last things I'd want to ever see is my daughter or my dog get even within strike range of a rattler. I've already seen Chad there, and I don't like it either. Lucky for us, we had a shovel with us and he killed it. No more poisonous snakes! Eventually the plan is to breed Lucy. Now, I more than anybody can respect that animal populations are high and the thing we're encouraged to do is spay and neuter our pets, but this is something we have discussed and decided to do. We'll wait until after a few more heat cycles have gone by and she's a little older, but we are going to breed her once we feel she's ready. I'm excited for that, I loved having the puppies from my last dogs, and I know that if I'd had the chance (in other words, the time) I'd have found them all wonderful homes. But at the time, that wasn't an option. I was being kicked out of the place I was renting to make room for her son on three days notice, I was 7 weeks pregnant, and was not working because of the pregnancy [I miscarried anyway due to all the stress]. I barely had a chance to keep the puppies until they could be separated from their moms as it was. I had to beg for that amount of time. But we're excited to eventually get to do something we love with such a wonderful pet. No worries, we won't go overboard and breed her too many times too close together, we love Lucy and would never do anything to hurt her or not take care of her properly.
I'm especially excited for Cara and Matt's wedding on the 29th. My great grandmother and great uncle are coming from Idaho, and my aunt, Pam, and uncle, Shawn, are coming from North Carolina to be there. I'm so excited for them to get to meet my family and to see them again. It's been close to six years since I've seen my aunt and uncle, and I've been trying to figure out a way for my great grandmother to meet Chad and Dakota. We were trying to plan a trip to Idaho this summer, but I don't think we would have been able to go, so I'm so excited they're coming here! I'm also glad that Cara and Matt are finally getting married. As a kid, I remember my mom saying that Matt would probably end up marrying either Cara or Mandy, but it was kinda inevitable that he'd become part of the family. Cara's bridesmaids dresses sound absolutely beautiful too, I keep hearing descriptions from Grandma Meadows, and they sound really pretty. Plus, who wouldn't love a picnic reception? It's planned for later in the evening, so the weather should be fairly nice. I'm excited to get to go and see all the family again. I haven't seen many of them since my wedding, some of them I haven't seen since November. After Cara, we'll just have Laura and Amanda to get married, and so I don't know how soon we'll have the family again together, especially not with great-grandma here. It'll be fun!
Speaking of marriage, I am so happy now that Chad and I are married. I know I said in my previous post that things really haven't changed, and for us they really haven't. But for me, it's very different in many, many ways. My first marriage never felt this secure, this fulfilling. The relationship that Chad and I have is so much more than I could have hoped for. We still don't fight or argue, we talk about anything and everything, and we work together on everything to make it easier for the other. But I have no worries about his loyalty or security in our marriage like I did in my first marriage. I know that Chad is dedicated to me, and that he isn't going anywhere, that he is always there to support me when I need him, and is always going to love me more than any other woman he knows. I never had those feelings before, and it makes me feel so much better than I have in years. I have no reason to doubt myself or the direction of my life, so my self confidence is much higher than it's ever been. Chad and Dakota hold me up and keep me from ever feeling depressed. We all love and cherish one another, and we truly are a family. Chad and I still do many things together, and try to spend quality time together as much as possible after Dakota goes to bed at night. That's why we're both so glad that she knows bedtime is between eight and eight-thirty. It makes it so easy for us to spend time together at night. With Chad working so hard, it's nice when we do get time to spend together before going to bed.
When we travel, unless it's a situation where it's too loud or if it would be easiest to leave her with a babysitter, we take Dakota with us. We've got a 4-wheel drive run next weekend in Jose Basin and she's coming with us. She'll be strapped in tight in her carseat, riding on the run with us. We're trying to get the "Youngest On the Trail" award this year. We'd have gotten it last year if they'd counted her age at -4months. I was six and a half months along, but it didn't count, the child actually had to be born. Go figure! Hopefully, at almost eight months she'll be the youngest this year. We'll find out! I'm excited that it's finally time to go again though. It was this same run last year where Chad proposed, and that makes it extra special for us. We were just sitting around the campfire and Chad said "Hey, I forgot, did I tell you guys that as of today Ash and I are officially engaged?" I just about fell out of my chair. I gave him the most shocked look, to which he responded with "Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you. I think you'll be needing this." Which is when he pulled out my ring, got down on one knee, and officially asked me to marry him. Granted, this picture is from Bald Mountain, but it's the same basic idea. This is our Toyota 4 Runner that we use for all our four wheel drive excursions. We've been in the desert, in the snow, and in the rocks with this thing. It's definitely one tough truck! We have a lot of fun, and I'm hoping Dakota enjoys going with us too. She enjoyed the monster truck rally last month (picture to the left [I look really creepy]), she loves the drag races, so she'll probably love the run just like everything else. She was waving her arms and laughing the entire time, so we'll hope it's easy to keep her entertained on the run, I just wish we could turn her around so she could see everything going on. The view of the back of the seats can't be that exciting, I'm sure it'll get boring fast. And I really hope that the weather isn't too hot. It's so hot this weekend, I don't really know what to expect for next weekend. Pray for cooler weather! Besides, cooler weather means less chance of snakes (again, no rattlesnakes for me = good weekend!).
In the meantime we're not up to much. Just taking as much time to relax as we possibly can when we can. With so much going on, not easy, but busy months are always exciting. Dakota and I are heading out to Grandpa Blaine's, we're going to go swimming for the first time! How exciting for Dakota! Pictures will come soon!