April 6, 2013

Baby Animals Days Are Here Again!


We just wrapped up our annual 3 days of constant baby animal hugging and wild sheep riding at the American West Heritage Center.  It was another great year for the big event!  That's why I've been absent from cyber space.  I mean, who has time to blog when there are bunnies to be loved on and sheep to get trampled by?

Our favorite thing there every year is the Little Buckeroo's Rodeo with the main event called mutton bustin, which basically means they suit up your kids and let them loose on a wild sheep and see how long they can hold on.  The top 2 times get a free bag of kettle corn.  Sounds like a cute little gentle event, right?  No way! Sometimes it's down right brutal.  In fact, every year I ask myself why do we let our kids do this?  Why do they want to do it?  I wonder how many broken bones have come from this?  My dad once sent us a fake legal document after he watched the video, that said he was filing for grandchild protection and we were now forbidden from allowing his grand babies from mutton busting   But apparently this is what people do for fun in Utah, so we roll with it.  When in Rome, right?

Hannah Jane didn't ride on Thursday.  She said she only had the guts to do it once this year and she wanted to wait until Joe was there to watch.  So the boys and their friends rode on Thursday (their friend, Alina, took second prize!!!) and then today Haven and Hannah Jane rode while Hunter sat it out, saying that it hurt too much when he fell off.  Today, Hannah Jane took first place with a time of 24.7 seconds and Haven won the tough dude award because his helmet fell off and the sheep ditched him into a fence.  I'm not sharing that video because it stops my heart hearing the crowd gasp and then go silent as his helmet flew off.  It was awful, but luckily this run wasn't one of those where the sheep trampled over him after he fell.  He didn't even cry.  Just refused to talk about it for about an hour after.  

Aside from the rodeo, there was candy cannon.  This is another one of those totally Utah things.  I have never heard of this anywhere else we've lived or visited, but a few annual events here have it.  They actually load these little cannons with candy and light them, shooting candy (and a giant disc that sits above the explosives to push the candy out) across a grassy space for the kids to run and gather it all up.  Most of the candy is scattered across the ground by hand, so it's a big deal when you find a piece that is black and charred because you know it was from the cannon.  


And then of course, there were baby animals of all kinds.  Baby bears, baby bunnies, chicks and ducks, a baby cow that wants to suck on everyone's finger, some piglets and baby goats, and 2 foals on wobbly legs.  Every time I see foals, I hear the Dan Fogelberg song, Run for the Roses, in my head. My dad used to have that on his mostly Dion Warwick mixed tape for road trips.  As we watched the foals prance around, I asked my friend Nikki if she had ever heard the song and she said no, that her dad was more of a ZZ Top kind of guy.  LOL!   I couldn't tell you a single ZZ Top song, but I know my 80's easy listening!


On a walk with our friends, Haven decided to put the top of his head squarely on the ground (why?  I will never know.) and ended up with the burrs stuck deep in his hair.  Like, seriously embedded at the scalp.  It took a while to get them out and he fussed at me the whole time.


While we were searching the vendor area for a decent lunch, Hunter declared he wasn't eating meat anymore.  I should have seen it coming.  He gave up his most favorite food, eggs, about a month ago because he saw a chicken farmer throwing baby chicks on a video.  It was the least upsetting footage from a meat farm ever, but it was enough to make him denounce eggs.  I've been careful ever since not to let him watch anything more hardcore.  I cook all vegan at home, but I still feed the kids meat and dairy and let them make their own food choices (within reason) because it's hard enough to get kids to eat a healthy, well balanced diet without taking out meat and dairy.  I didn't want the hassle of trying to find all veggie foods that kids would eat.  Anyway, he decided that he would not eat a corn dog at Baby Animal Days no matter what.  He tried to shame Hannah Jane out of having one too, but I told him that I can only support his food choices if he supports everyone's right to make different choices.  My mind flashed back to an article I read on how something like 60% of Americans wouldn't even consider dating a vegetarian because they didn't want to be guilted every time they sat down to enjoy a meal.  So we bought him a bag of chips (talk about health food) to tide him over until we could get him some veggie burgers at the store.

That about sums up the highlights of this year's Baby Animal Days.  Can't wait to go back for animal only days when the crowds are a little thinner.  While I've been typing this post, Hannah Jane has been in and out of here asking if I thought we could leave the dogs outside (we're training them in the evenings so that we can give them another try at being indoor dogs) and just play with them in the evenings like we have been so that we can get a house bunny.  Thank you, Baby Animal Days, for biting the kids with the bunny bug!  I'll let you know how that all shakes out.  When you've had 13 animals, what's one more, right?  LOL!

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