09 January 2017

Happy Birthday Chewie!

Chewie just turned 1 (January 7th)!

Had to include the cute outtake. 

I can't believe he's already 1.  Of course I had to take pictures for it.  Carus helped me positioning him and getting him to hold still.  

She's a good helper and he's a good boy. 

We had to lock Leia and Yoda in the other room. They wanted to do tricks for treats too. Haha

The hat was put on his head like 50 times for each shot I got.  Except this last one where he only shook his head instead of pulling it off so one more cute pic.

52 Week Photography Challenge: Week 1 - Rule of Thirds

We've completed the first week of 2017, though it already feels like it's been longer than a week. I started hearing commercials for tax prep and it feels weird.  Like, we can't already be back at the part of the year where we pay taxes, right?!

The challenges are separated into three categories; Story-Telling, Technical, and Artistic Impression.

Story: Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is the first compositional rule most photographers learn; but most don't know why they learn it.  The rule of thirds is amazing for telling a story.  Tell a story using rule of thirds.

I didn't have a plan for what images I was going to take for the challenge this week. I tried to just keep it in mind whenever I picked up my camera or felt inspired.  While I want to make sure that I use my actual camera/DSLR more often, sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you. While I'm at the barn, I have my phone 100% of the time so it becomes my go to.  Plus, I like being able to share my photos on Instagram and Facebook. I like the instant feedback (read: attention HA!).

Leia and Chewie love playing in the snow and we've been getting snow so I took them outside and kept the rule of thirds challenge in my mind.  Yoda isn't a fan of the snow, but he likes following me.

Dusty and Scout seemed completely uninterested in the snow, they just wanted the hay, some attention from Carus, and maybe a cookie.

Scout rarely doesn't head straight for Carus the second he sees her.  The only times he's decided the grass he's eating is more important only lasts until she crinkles a peppermint wrapper or she comes into the pasture.

The photos of the dogs are DSLR and the horses are phone with Instagram filters.

More information about the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Photography Challenge can be found here.

#dogwood52, #dogwood2017, and #dogwoodweek1

New Year, New Post

In an effort to get back to blogging more, as well as getting back into my photography, I've decided to do a 52 week photography challenge through Dogwood Photography.  I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon it, but I did.

Anyoo - I guess watch for those.

In other news, the kids are doing well in school.  Robert had another surgery in December on his back (if you didn't know already), and well... we don't know if it's helped any....yet. Maybe it will help in the long run, though he's still hurting now which makes me sad and frustrated, though probably not as frustrated as he is. I'm working away and doing mom stuff and feeling overwhelmed by life and responsibilities constantly, but I think that's how it's supposed to be.

Carus's first show with Dusty is next weekend. She's excited. I'm excited and nervous.

Adam got his license (yay!) and we haven't had to drive him to and from work, which is NIIIIIIIICE! He's enjoying his car.

Adam leaves for his Washington DC trip next week. And he'll be gone for almost a full week. He's excited. I'm excited and nervous.  (Heh, since a theme to me?)

Robert and I are remodeling the bathrooms. We're starting with the kids bathroom and then will do ours.  They'll match when we're done.  The kids have gotten roped into helping too. We'd probably be further along if we could agree on a route to take with the floors and cabinets and such. We've decided and got a lot of it picked out, now to just buy and install all the things. Hey, maybe I should share updates of that here too.  There's an idea to encourage me blogging more often.

So, there we go. A quick and dirty update on things.

07 November 2016

Band and Choir Concert

(This is a redo, a bit late because I didn't notice it didn't post when I posted it.)

Adam is in band again this year, and Carus has joined the choir, and so the concert at the beginning of the year was for both of them.  

The fall concert shows what the kids have been learning so far that year and gives a little bit of a baseline of their skills for you to see how far they come by the end of the year concert in May.

Carus is in the middle front - with the light purple hair.

Adam is just to the right of that cello in the middle.  This was taken during set up for the next performance as the tromboners (and Adam) are in the back and you can't really see them/him (he's in the middle of 3 or 4 tromboners and well hidden from cameras).

Clip of the choir

Clip of the choirs, orchestra, and band. 

Clip of just the band.

24 October 2016

Going ons

I should probably update this more often so I didn't feel like I had to make a list of all that is happening.  Lots is happening, some good, some bad and some it's still to be determined good or bad...

Gah, I just looked at recent posts to see what has been said and I've got not a whole lot for a base level.  Let's just break it down into per person or subject.

Me: I'm doing well, but at the same time not well at all.  My health is fine or steady or whatever. My plantar fasciitis is still killing me most days and I'll get it doing okay then push myself to do more/exercise more because I know that if I build up a higher baseline than what I'm currently at it will be better in the long run, but then I pay for it for a few days.  Guess where I'm at in that cycle right now - the point where I want to whine and cry.

Emotionally, I'm all over the place.  I'm stressed and anxious, but don't feel like I have enough to be stressed or anxious about, which makes me feel guilty and then I get all anxious over that. So yeah, I'm in a pretty shitty spiral and doing my best to stay afloat. I don't feel like I'm juggling all my responsibilities well, but my kids are fed and loved, my pets are fed and loved, I still have a job, and everyone is wearing clean (albeit wrinkled) laundry so there's that. Work is fine, they love me and I mostly love my job, but I'm irritated as fuck over some recent unnecessary changes that make my job more difficult and don't feel like I can say anything.

Carus is doing really well with Dusty now, which has alleviated some of my anxiety about how Dusty and Carus would handle showing, but Scout might need to find a new home which is breaking my heart. I love him as much as Carus - he's basically my first horse too - and I don't want to take him from her, but if we get to the point of leasing/buying a horse for Carus to finish her 4H career with, it has to be a horse she can actually show and Scout can't show. (He is doing okay physically, so could handle some showmanship and probably some trail, but not the amount of work needed for equitation.) Enter ALL of the guilt with that situation and then multiply it by a billion.  I don't know. A lot can happen between now and when Scout needs to find a new home, but for now the prospect is debilitating.

Speaking of Carus, now an actual update on her and not just my anxieties about her.  Carus is doing well.  She's adjusting to high school extremely well and is doing okay in classes (there has been some confusion on how the teacher wants answers formulated that have affected her grades).  Socially she is focusing on friends and making good friends and ignoring the bad friends and those that talk crap.  I think her self-confidence has helped this aspect immensely and I'm glad that all the steps I've taken to help her there have done their job. She's excited to turn 15 and get her permit so she can learn to drive, like now.  She's excited for shows this year and is ready to get Dusty in the show ring. I'm very proud of all the hard work she's put in on herself.

My anxieties about Adam have dulled... at least until we get closer to graduation and looking at going to college stuff. So for like 5 minutes? And I'll probably end up hyperventilating in a ball in the corner when he gets his license and takes his car for a drive all by himself. Shit, I'm almost there just typing that out. See above - RE: I'm a mess.

Adam is skating through his senior year, though he'd probably tell you otherwise because he is busy and doesn't have as much downtime as he'd probably like.  He only has to get 2 credits to graduate but he's taking a full day of classes.  He's taking two different culinary classes as well as band and astronomy "for fun".  I think his physics class counts as a credit, but to him it's still "for fun".  His senior project is about managing a play; the first play of the school's play year - High School Musical - and that has been keeping him busy and not really working much.  He's averaging about 20 hours a week for work which is enough for his car payment and insurance.  Now for him to just get his license; he just has to schedule a time (there's a waiting period).  The other night he realized that he's an adult and doesn't need permission to get a tattoo or buy lottery tickets and thought that was fun; and he just got his first ballot in the mail. Woohoo adulthood - which shit head politician should be president?

Robert is working now.  He finally got released from medical for his back injury and was able to get a job and has found one that he can do without causing too much pain which PHEW because I don't need that added worry back in.  He'd tell me that I don't have to worry cause it's his back, but that's not how it works.  He's looking into surgery to fuse those discs that are bulging in the near-ish future.  Approvals need to be sent and received and steps taken to get there. I'm also worried about that.  At least I have a theme for my life right now - worry and anxiety all day long with a side of bonus anxiety for those extra worrying times. For now, he's dealing while working a lot; he works 12 hour shifts 3 days one week and 4 days the next though right now it's just 4 days a week as there is a ton of over-time available.

Blargh. This post feels weird, but it's what I got for now.

12 September 2016

Horse Fair

How has it already been more than two months since Horse Fair?!  I'm woefully behind in sharing updates, but I will be working to remedy that as well as attempting - yet again - to get back into the habit of updating/journaling/etc on a regular basis.  Maybe this time I will be successful. Only time will tell!

All the photos from fair can be found on my Facebook page in this album

We missed Scout so much during fair.  Or at least I did.  Carus did have working with DJ to distract her. She did break down during senior night where they were reading speeches written by the graduating seniors, who wouldn't be back the next year, and a couple of those kids thanked their first horses as being the reason they fell in love with horses. It hit her right in the feels and she said that she worries he won't make it to her senior night. I've reassured her that 4 years isn't that far off and he's still doing well so we can be hopeful.  She's planned out how he will be the one that takes her into the arena for senior night - walking together or riding. I hope that she gets that.

If you missed it - Scout is now retired from shows (mostly).  He was diagnosed, officially, June 1st with sidebone (click here for Google search for sidebone where you can find all sorts of info if interested) in his left front foot.  He's on daily pain management as well as some joint supplements and he got a whole month off.  When his month was up and I let Carus ride him at a slow walk around the arena for 10 minutes I held my breath hoping so hard that it wouldn't cause him pain and make him limp again.

It didn’t.  They can walk and trot and play together again, and he really tears it up around the pasture with Dusty! Yay! 

For Fair, Carus was able to borrow DJ, her 4H leader's horse, a 25-year-old Quarab (Quarter horse and Arabian horse cross) who was a drill horse for many years.  He likes to go-go-go and can do so all day long and then some.  Carus worked hard for the 2 months leading up to Fair to get used to him, him used to her, and keep him calm and listening for the slow work that would be required of them for fair.

We are so proud with how Carus handled herself during fair in so many ways, but first I'll explain how so with DJ.

DJ is what one would call a hot horse.  He likes to go and go fast because that is what he was trained to do.  Carus would take him into the arena and ask him to stand still for a moment and he didn't understand why because usually when he got into an arena he would be moving until he left that arena.  She still stuck it out, kept her patience, and tried her best.  She never left one of her classes defeated by a less than perfect outcome. After her trail class where he did a bunch of pawing at the ground, trying to run off course, and even a little crow-hop, she left the arena laughing and said, "Well, that could've gone better."  She didn’t get any blue ribbons this year, but still was very happy with her efforts and so glad to have the opportunity to work with this adorable little energizer bunny horse. DJ taught her quite a bit in their 2 months together.

This was also our first year with the new 4H group as last year's group disbanded.  Carus was the only member this year with prior 4H Horse experience.  The other two members where younger than Carus, in their first year of 4H, and in their first year of showing horses.  (There was a fourth member, but she ended up dropping out mid year.)  Carus was supportive of them, a great leader to them, and helped them at a drop of a hat without complaint (mostly) even though we got close to 100 degree temps (again) and the days were long and busy, occasionally feeling like they were never-ending. 

4H is about to start up again this year, and Carus has a few goals to work towards.  She hopes to show Bailey the mini-donkey this year, show a horse (which is currently planned to be Dusty if Dusty can handle it), become a better rider, maybe show in some English classes, and she wants to earn the most points.

(Each horse 4H member is required to earn 100 points to be allowed to participate in Horse Fair. They get those points by participating in 4H activities, other horse shows, educational clinics and competitions, and community service/volunteer work.  Last year the winner got 470ish points and Carus wants to get 500 at least.  Since we have a limited number of shows we can attend - which does limit her earning ability a smidge - this can be a bit of a challenge, but we'll try.)

More to come. . . 

02 September 2016

Happy 18th (!!) Birthday, Adam!

Adam is 18!

I can't believe it has been 18 years, and at the same time I can. It's gone by so slowly but too quickly. You are officially an adult, but it doesn't feel like you are quite yet. At least to me.  

I'm not sure what will make you an adult.  Will it be you graduating this year? Or getting your license?  Maybe the trip to DC on your own. Or seeing you vote in your first election. 

I am so proud of who you are. Every day and every year I become more and more proud of you. You are kind and considerate, responsible and empathetic, smart and witty, funny and sweet.  Your sense of humor and love for puns and dad jokes are the best.   

You're the best son, brother, friend, and person that I could have hoped for.

Thanks for making us (your parents) look good. 

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