Thursday, December 7, 2017

A visit from friends

I debated whether to put this on my horse blog or here. But really it's about socializing and friends, and not me riding Gwyn specifically, so here it belongs.

L and her daughter E came over Sunday afternoon for some horsey fun. L has been itching for horse time and I am more than happy to share Gwyn. E is a couple months older than Kaylee and they get along for the most part once they both get over the initial shyness. They live more in metro Detroit proper, so it can be a bit of a hike to come out to our place.

A very pouty Hazel who did NOT want to switch where she was brushing Gwyn. Gwyn is being a Good Girl.

Saffron was jealous.

Hazel also brushed her own hair.

L showed everyone how to pick out hooves. Gwyn was, once again, A Very Good Girl.

Everyone had to take a turn picking out the hoof. Even Hazel.

I had some sparkly garland that we fashioned into a 'bridle' since the girls weren't going to be off a leadline at all. They thought it was great.

"Okay Hazel, hug Kaylee and hang on!"  So Kaylee hugged Hazel back and I got this super sweet photo.

Saffron played with the other garland.


Both of the older kids also wanted to 'go fast'  so we ran around and Gwyn was A Very Very Good Girl and had a nice trot. Though I find that kids seem to be able to sit very bouncy things well anyway.

Hazel was upset that everyone else was riding. So she got time by herself on Gwyn and I think really had a blast.

Thank goodness for L, because I would not do this with just me. There still needs to be a toddler handler to keep a hand on Hazel in case she gets off balance.

"No, actually, I don't want attention, human... Get it off. I take it back."

E leads Gwyn around. Gwyn was still a Good Girl.

Hazel was VERY upset that other people were riding "Her [My] Pony"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Day 7: Three things that could make me happier

Christ I thought this was about being thankful. This question really makes me feel greedy? Perspective wise I have a LOT in my life that's good. I feel bad thinking about what MORE I would want.

But it's the prompt, so bare with me.

1. A shorter commute. I spend a lot of time on the road every day commuting to work. Eric and I both. Even shaving 15-20 minutes off of the time would mean more time for the kids and better balance in fitting in exercise, family time, horse time and house cleaning.

2. More money from my job.   I get paid shit for my qualifications and compared to the state average for the job that I have. I'd need to have a 5$/hr raise to meet the AVERAGE salary at full time for a microbiologist in the state of Michigan. It would amount to a $10,000/yr raise.

3. More date time with Eric. Keeping our relationship strong as a couple and not just as parents is very important to me and we have few opportunities to do things like that.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Catch Up Thankfullness Day3 through 6

Day 3 - What are three things that make you happy in your life right now?

Thing versus people is hard to distinguish, but since I can do people with day 4, I'll stick to things. It's just weird to be this materialistic.  Though I suppose things could be generic and less about things I hold in my hand but rather things like a job. Anyway..

Gwyn is absolutely a thing that makes me happy in my life right now. She greets me every day, she pays attention when I come and go from home, she's always willing to offer a snuggle and a hug.

Even though I gripe and there's been drama, I am very happy to have my job. I love being a scientist. Love love love it. It brings me joy to puzzle things out where I can within the scope of my responsibilities. And even though the fact that I am taking on more roles is due to issues with coworkers, I am gleeful that it's experience I can use to leverage a better job.

Music. Music makes me happy in life. I've got a lot of music that is just what I need right now.

Day 4 - List 5 people you are grateful to have in your life right now. How can you show your appreciation to them?

1st Person: Eric, absolutely and hopefully forever. Sometimes I'm truly amazed at how long we've been together and how well we've built our lives together. There are things I know that I should work on personally that would be the best way to show how much I appreciate him. I know that the foundation of great relationships is good communication and when he helps me out, especially in things that let me go off and do things I enjoyed before kids, I always thank him. Always. And I try to encourage him to find similar things that he can do. He deserves it.

2nd Person:  Kaylee. She's my shining light of hope and curiousity. She has so many questions about the world and she wants to know everything. She is full of joy and energy and soaks in whatever knowledge Eric and I can impart to her. For her, my appreciation is shown by one on one time with her, reading books, just talking about the world. Play is central to how she learns so play I will.

3rd Person: Hazel. She is a spitfire. Her language mastery grows by leaps and bounds and she fit right into our little family like a puzzle piece I didn't know was missing. She loves animals, all animals but Gwyn especially. For her my appreciation is to continue to be the best mother I can be. To offer snuggles, to read to her, to take her out to the barn each day to do chores and let her dump all the grain together because even though she might spill a bit, she's learning and growing and I'm teaching her independence.

4th Person:  I'm gonna cheat here and say my online mom community that spun off of a reddit forum I was on for my first pregnancy. We all have kids around the same age and we really bonded with one another. We created a private facebook group and have been in each other's lives now for over 6 years. I can't imagine being a parent without them. We even have a little symbol, a paper airplane, to represent it all. I show my appreciation for them in little ways. Around the holidays we do a random act of christmas. Members who are struggling submit their needs and those of us who are more fortunate 'adopt' them and send gifts for Christmas. I'm planning to pick a member this year.

5th Person: The endurance community here in Michigan. They have been super welcoming to me and so very very friendly. I can show my appreciation for them by finally becoming a paying member next year, LOL.  But really, I also volunteer, because their events wouldn't run if they didn't have volunteers.

Day 5 - What was/ is the happiest time of your life (so far)? What made you so happy during that time?

There are four moments:
When I married Eric.
When Gwyn came off of the transport truck for the first time (and the second time too because boy did I miss her)
The first time I saw Kaylee and held her in my arms after her birth.
The first time I saw Hazel and held her in my arms.

For Kaylee and Hazel I thoroughly lay blame on oxytocin for that rush of love I felt. It was very very very overwhelming. I loved them instantly. I know it doesn't always happen that way, but it did for me.

I was really happy seeing Gwyn because it was a childhood dream come true. I was getting my first horse that mine, all mine, not borrowed or anything, and it was a horse I knew and had wanted. The second time she came off the truck was in Michigan and it was so happy then because I'd been separated by a whole country while I tried to organize shipping and finding a place to board after our move. I was sliding down toward depression without her and having her back where I could touch and just breathe in her smell was rejuvenating. Even Eric noticed an immediate change in my mental health and mood.

And of course, marriage. Eric is my best friend. We haven't run out of things to talk about yet and celebrating our marriage was so much fun and perfectly us. Nothing went wrong that day. Nothing.

Day 6 - Think of a difficult time in your life, and write the things that brought you happiness during that difficult time.

Well, our move to Michigan was rough. We made the decision to come for a lot of logical factors but completely forgot to discount the emotional. I was stuck in my mother in law's house with Kaylee, trying to keep her from breaking everything. It was March and winter dreary and we were on a very busy main road in front with a river in the backyard. We were in a part of the state that has nearly NOTHING to do for stay at home moms. And I didn't have Gwyn.

I started small. I got Kaylee enrolled in a montessori preschool and that freed up time for me to go look at boarding barns.  I started to coordinate transport of Gwyn from Washington to Michigan. I started working out while Kaylee was in school. Or I'd go to the marsh and go for walks. I tried to find the beauty in Michigan. This took significant effort on my part.

I decided to volunteer for an endurance ride in April. I dug the camping equipment out from all of our packed belongings that the movers brought and went off for a weekend alone, in mid April, with a bunch of other horse people. It was the perfect retreat. I was off in the woods, freezing my ass off at night in a tent, but having a brilliant time.

I returned home feeling so much better. Plus I had finally gotten a date from the shippers for getting Gwyn. The end was finally in sight. I made a lot of new friends that weekend that have lasted me through to even now.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 2: Thankfullness (with some photots)

2: What are you excited about in the coming month?

Oh boy!

So, the biggest thing I'm excited about right now is my riding lesson next week. I'm hoping this trainer will be a good fit, though I'm less enthused at HOW MUCH I'd be paying for her to come to me versus me going to her given the distance that separates us. (Less than a mile)

I've also gotten permission to thin out some brush between my neighbor and the farm fields so I can get Gwyn back there for some winter riding.

I've also applied to a job at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, which would give me a shorter drive to work and likely more money. The job I really wanted was already gone from the website, despite still being out on the webs. Ah well.

Our neighbors are having a belated Halloween Party on Saturday that I'm also excited for. They are good people.

And there's a seminar on becoming a wildlife rehabilitator that I'm planning to attend with the same neighbor. That's something I've always wanted to do and I'd like to know how feasible it would be and how much time and money commitment is necessary.

It's almost bedtime, but I'm also feeling really motivated to get my hunting season quarter sheet made up so we can safely ride in the chill. I'm also looking into making my own riding skirt for warmth and water protection. I just need the ride material and I think I'm going to need to order that online. I'm not sure if there's a specialty fabric store nearby that would carry it.

And so this isn't all words...

She insists on carrying Gwyn's feed pan 
I did a thing to my hair, this was a transition phase. 

Lanterns light the way at night

Sunsets are beautiful

The thing with the hair is better

Hazel gets a tiny curly pony tail

We all make silly faces

She wasn't actually grumpy, she was testing out her faces since she could see herself on the camera, lol

Kaylee draws EVERYWHERE, which is actually an improvement from when she refused to draw anything


Sunrise just hitting the tops of the trees

School Photo

Halloween Snow

"Wait a minute..."

He did not stay out long.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Thankfulness

So here's the plan: I've got two sets of daily journaling prompts, one about thankfulness, one about horses. They'll be separate posts (and the horse one will be posted to my Gwyn Blog)

So let's jump in, happy NaNoWriMo to those who are participating!


1: What do you want to do this month? Write your goals for the month, and think about what you need to do to accomplish them.

So my first goal is to do these journaling prompts every day in November. It will be self reflective time.
Second goal is riding once a week minimum. I'll be having a riding lesson next week so I'll have things to work on! This will be the hardest because it's now dark and cold when I have riding time (excepting weekends)
Exercise 4 days a week.
Go to a wildlife rehabbing seminar.
Make my Orange quarter sheet for safe riding during hunting season
Draft up a pattern to make a riding skirt for warm riding

It's a lot! It's ambitious.  To do this I'm going to need to rely on Eric a lot for support watching the girls. I should be able to ride on weekends, and maybe work on the sewing projects after the kids are in bed, which is also when the exercise will be happening.

I'll likely do the journaling either right before bed or during slow moments at work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Photo Dump

It's probably easier to just do a photo dump as a summary of life lately. So that's what this is. I'm also searching for a 52 item list of prompts to write about, which would give this blog a weekly boost. We'll see what I can find.

Disposable sherry glass at the hunter pace

It was a gorgeous day

I saw a rainbow on my way into work

And Gwyn used the setting sun to her photogenic advantage

Hazel is a cat, "If I fits, I sits" 

The fish and plants are doing well

Photographer from the Pace

My campsite at Oak Leaf Run. It rained. A lot. But I love my camping set up.

I stayed dry and warm!

My mom came to visit while I was off camping. Hazel wanted nothing to do with me for quite a bit.

Family photo

We deserve each other

School fashion for the fall

Kaylee's schoolwork

This may seem like an odd photo to post, but it needs some explanation. I gave the empty square tupperware to Hazel and told her to put it away. She went into the grain room and placed it on the metal grain bin all by herself. She is a year and a half and not only knows where things belong, she can interpret a vague instruction correctly. 

She is also insistent on helping out every night.

And she loves Velociraptor (and he seems to love her too)

Aquaponics system!

This is Piggy and Gerald. Kaylee brought them home for the weekend and had to write about what they did with her.

They went to the post office.

And came to my work to do SCIENCE!

And Kaylee got to try vortexing a sample. She thought it was hilarious.

We've had some very pretty sunsets.

Hazel also got in on the Piggy and Gerald action.

We went pumpkin picking on a ridiculously warm October day.

And got apple cider slushies.

Gwyn shares her dinner with Hazel.

We've had a skunk visiting the yard.

We got a new fish. A coworker was griping that her fish was getting too aggressive with the rest of her tank so I offered to take him so he wouldn't get flushed. We are up to 5 goldfish and one chinese algae eater now. They have lots of space roam. 

More kitty love.

The full system.