09 March 2017

Adam update!

Let's do an update on Adam. Because I want to write something and I should probably talk abut my first born for a change.

He's officially an adult and he's been doing all sorts of adult-ing things this year. He's gotten a car, a job, traveled (mostly) solo - across the country.  Robert helped him file his taxes, and he got a tax return (don't get used to that buddy!). He's ONLY 3 months away from graduating high school! He still doesn't know what he wants to do for a career/job/college. There are some programs that would work perfectly for quick and easy access to a start of a career - and a good career at that, but he's having trouble committing because of what ifs.

"What if I don't like that job? Then I've wasted the time and money on it."

I get it, I get stuck on the what if I don't like it often as well. I don't know what else to do. We try to talk through options. 

He's also in the generation who has learned from their older siblings or parents, that college is super effing expensive and soooooo many people in this country are currently so deep in debt it isn't funny. And just with school loan debt. It shouldn't cost THAT much to go to college; and not even an ivy league school, but dinky little community and smaller state colleges. So much debt with horrible interest rates that you can never get ahead on and still pay cost of living expenses. With those loans being the only options for so many people and with the constant chorus of "you have to go to college to get a good job," waaaay too many people are stuck. 

But I digress.

In school, he's doing okay. He's skating by the classes he doesn't *need* to graduate, and doing well in the ones he does *need*. Work is going well, he likes earning money and having his own car.  We hardly see him because he's at school, hanging with friends, working, or hanging with friends. I see him a bit less because I'm often off being Carus's chauffeur.

See. I can't even get a pic of him unless I snap it quickly as he's heading out the door for work or school (here, work).  

His work stories are interesting...and gross.  He likes his coworkers and managers A LOT, but is totally not a fan of customers. Especially rude jerks or customers that smear their poop all over the bathroom or urinate in the trashcan. He can sympathize with those vomiting, though isn't a fan of them either. The franchise owners seem good to their employees too. There were $25 gift cards for Christmas (not much, but in my opinion amazing coming from a fast food restaurant) and they recently put one of their employees up in a hotel for the weekend when her home flooded. THAT makes me feel like they're good people.  

Anywho - I'm very proud of how awesome he's turned out as a young adult and am excited to see how he grows and matures and moves through life. 

And also completely weirded the frick out about having a child that old.

24 February 2017

Carus update

How about an update on Carus?

Sounds good to me.  

Carus is doing amazing! She's making Freshman year look like a piece of cake and I'm so proud of her.  Her grades are great and she's being silly with retaking tests in the high 80s and low 90s to get even higher scores. She wants the highest As possible.  I think the only area she is struggling in is French, but learning a second language can be hard. She is becoming an awesome young woman and I'm seriously so proud of her every day. 

With 4H, she's doing great too! This last weekend was Horse Bowl (like Jeopardy for horse and 4H questions) and she answered enough questions correctly to get 3rd place, she faced her anxiety about public speaking and did a presentation on Stretching for Your Horse and she got 4th place of all Intermediates in Presentation, and then literally volunteered last minute to do an Impromptu speech and got 5th place in that! (5th place ribbon needed to be ordered.)
(Impromptu is where you are given a topic and you have to prepare a speech in 2 minutes, and then give it. The speech must be between 2 and 5 minutes.  Her's was just under 2 minutes on "What class would you add to fair if you had a choice?" - she choose At Liberty Training (where you have a horse do showmanship and other tasks without a lead line).

With that 3rd place in Horse Bowl, she qualifies for Spring Horse Classic!  That is the State-wide Horse Bowl (and speech and presentation) competition. It's at the end of April and we're not sure if she is going to go yet.  She has to want to, and we have to be able to afford the 4-ish hour drive to Redmond, Oregon, and the hotel stay from Friday to Sunday. When we get a bit more information about it, we'll make the decision.  I hope we can make it happen if she wants to go. 

Her working with Dusty is really paying off and Dusty is starting to trust her, and Carus to trust Dusty.  Her appaloosa and smarts get in the way sometimes still, but so much progress has been made. Lessons are going well and Carus is excited for the rest of the shows they have picked out to do this year (one in March, one small one in May and one big one in May, then the main event, Fair, in June!) and I'm less worried about Carus getting hurt on this head-strong mare. 

She got on bareback for a little bit the other night - first time on Dusty bareback.  At first, Dusty tensed up like she was going to start throwing a fit about it, but once she figured out that Carus was just going to love on her and I was going to walk her around she calmed down.  

Last week, while Carus was riding with the other kids at the barn, we were treated to a SPECTACULAR sunset and of course we did the mom thing and made the kids pose for some photos.  And this isn't too bad for a phone photo.  I should start taking the camera with me all the time just for the times we get something this amazing.

Scout has been doing well. I've ridden him with Carus riding Dusty once recently, and hope to do it again. I need to build my confidence on him, and he needs to build his confidence in me, but I'm hoping someday we can go on a trail ride together.

23 February 2017

Photography challenge

Well, that didn't take long for me to get uninspired.

In week 3, I realized the list I was looking at online was the previous years' list and I had printed out this year's list.  But no biggie, week 2 and 3 were the only "wrong" ones and I didn't like this year's prompt anyways.

I took a series of photos for week 4 (Mirror) and will share that.... eventually.... maybe. *sigh*

Decided to skip week 5 because I just wasn't inspired by it (Ten Shots)

And then I bought a bag of Skittles for week 6 (Candy) and still plan on trying a few ideas out with those because surprisingly I still have that bag of Skittles 2 weeks later (hid it from the kids well HA!)

Because I do want to write/journal here more and I do want to be inspired by creating art with my camera; I'm going to attempt to remove some pressure of deadlines from me so no more weekly challenge.  My new goal is to share what I've done recently, what I've done that week, the photographs I've taken and the stories I have to share, and hopefully that will help get me out of this funk where I want to create art but don't particularly feel inspired to create art.

Let's see how that works....

06 February 2017


(You might have seen this on my Facebook. I wanted to share here too.)

Carus is learning about WWII in school and yesterday while trying to find something to watch we found a documentary on Amazon. It was an interview with a survivor.
She was 15 when her town in Poland was invaded. Her brother was 18. He was sent off to work, and they never heard from him again. They moved her and her parents to the basement of their home while a German family moved in, and she wasn't even allowed to go into her garden.
She was 18 when they split her from her parents and was sent off to Auschwitz and 21 when she was liberated. She was one of 150 women that survived a death march that started with over 2000 women in January 1945. Liberation for her was in May 1945. Her best friend died in her arms while she watched an Allied jeep approach.
On the train to Auschwitz, after living in an occupied city for 3 years, not knowing what came of her brother, not knowing when she'd see her parents again, she still thought the war would be over soon; within 6 months.
She was the only member of her family, the only one of her closest friends, the only one of her town to survive.
The only one. 
* * * * * * * * * * *
We went on to start a BBC documentary on Netflix with 6 episodes. Not surprisingly, episode 1 was about Auschwitz.
In it, they interviewed survivors AND Nazi soldiers. One Nazi soldier still held his prejudice. He had little to no remorse for what he did. He looked embarrassed to be speaking of it but not remorseful. He spoke of massacres of shooting women and children at the edge of a pit they were forced to dig, and when asked why he just said because it's what was done. When asked if he regret any of it, he said no. When asked why, he said because they were Jews.
He had grown up with the anti-Semitic propaganda that bread the Nazi regime and the concentration camps and WWII. It was so deeply instilled in him that 80 years later he still had no regrets about murdering hundreds (or thousands) of men, women, and children.
* * * * * * * * * * *
It's all been rattling around in my head today. It was hard to watch. It will be hard to continue to watch.
My daughter is 15. My son is 18.
* * * * * * * * * * *
I wish I had gotten some of Robert's grandmother's stories written down/recorded (she grew up in England and was coming of age during WWII). The few she shared with me were amazing.

27 January 2017

52 Week Photography Challenge: Week 3 - Red

Artistic:  Red
Shoot whatever inspires you. Red should be the focus of the image. Don't be afraid to be creative.

This week FLEW by and that found me getting ready for Carus's show Friday evening realizing I hadn't photographed a thing all week with my big camera - and definitely not focusing on the prompt of the week of "Red". 

But that's okay - Dusty's colors for the show were red and Carus had a red snood in her hair and hey lucky us the arena is red too. All my prompt photos were taken at 2017 Shaggy Days horse show in McMinnville at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds.

Carus studying her pattern.  Her hat had the plastic cover to keep it dry and clean. 

We're becoming very organized for horse shows tack, outfits, and supplies wise.  This and knowing more of what to expect alleviates a lot of stress and anxiety.

This was Dusty's first show and we were worried about how she would do. Dusty is an emotional/nervous/busy body type horse and she does pick up Carus's anxiety and nerves easily.

Dusty was nervous and looked around a lot, didn't like putting her back to the stands and all the people in the stands, wasn't too sure about the loud speaker or all the horses, but she still did well.  

And Carus did amazing and kept her cool when Dusty was not keeping her cool.  We put the red ribbon in her tail as it's the horse show symbol for "this horse kicks".  Dusty hasn't ever offered to kick but we figured it would help keep some people from riding or walking too close and creating more anxiety for an already anxious horse. 

Showmanship was first and while their pattern wasn't perfect, Carus didn't forget any of the steps and Dusty didn't run the judge over so all in all we're happy. 

Green Horse Showmanship - Sixth place 

Western Equitation Green Horse Walk/Trot - 4th place 

For her riding classes, again Carus did very well keeping her cool and working with Dusty who was nervous and a little spooky about the new place.  

Western Pleasure Green Horse Walk/Trot - 5th place 

This was in the morning before we left for the show.  I had banded Dusty's mane in an attempt to get it laying down nice and neat for the show. It did not stay over night.  We ended up removing the bands and just leaving her mane in all it's appaloosa glory. 

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

#dogwood52, #dogwood2017, and #dogwoodweek3

26 January 2017

52 Week Photography Challenge: Week 2 - Landscape

Landscape:  Traditional Landscape
Shoot a beautiful landscape and share it with the world.  Find a nice foreground and don't forget the sky.

Phone photo of the view from the front window.

There were so many landscapes that I wanted to go out and get while we had our snowpocalypse but was mostly stuck at home.  The roads were not safe to drive and while we could have done okay with my all wheel drive car and Robert's truck, we didn't have to risk it, so we didn't.

Instagram photo of Chewie looking and the view.

It snowed, then the clouds left and it got really cold. With the sun out during the day though, the snow on the streets melted enough for people to start getting around and we went out to the barn to do chores and haul water buckets all over since we'd only hook up one hose to fill waters.  The morning crew would take the evening's buckets and put in the tack room to thaw out for the evening crew to switch with the day's buckets.  And pushing wheelbarrows full of manure through snow to dump is a pain in the butt. Almost literally. Carus slipped a few times pushing up hill (I clean stalls, she dumps) but we managed and were rewarded with some lovely sunsets.  

Cold weather and clear skies gives some pretty sunrises and sunsets.

Phone photo of the sunset colors at the barn.

Adam shoveled our driveway and some of the sidewalk and then made me a snowman.  If you look just so, you can see he has two eyes and a smile. 

I did get my big camera out on my lunch and breaks and walked the backyard with the dogs. (Downfall from working from home - no snow days.)

View from our back porch

7 inches of snow

Adam making snowballs for the dogs. 

And then he bit on it and was confused when it disappeared into the rest of the snow.

Playing with the frozen soccer ball.

My frozen clothes line.

One of the evenings we were out at the barn doing chores, Carus and I decided to go for a little ride. 

We probably spent more time tacking the horses up than riding. It was COLD!  

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

#dogwood52, #dogwood2017, and #dogwoodweek2

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.

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