I like writing conceptual pieces, I like thinking through an idea or my reaction to an idea and fleshing it out into words. Seems I've been doing a lot of that lately, so I suppose I'm overdue on oversharing about our life these days.
I'll go ahead and remedy that.
Race Car Man turned 8 last Friday. So far this year he hasn't had a bad day at school, he hasn't had a day he had to spend with the school counselor. He's more focused, and more flexible. When he has had a diffculty in coping with something it hasn't completely undone his day. He's really begun to use his toolbox to manage his behaviors at school, and we are thrilled with the progress he's making. He's not happy with how often we're forcing he and his sister to play outside, he'd much rather be hyperfocused on Skylanders, but eventually out he does go. Amazingly, he even enjoys himself. Now that the days are getting shorter, I want the kids to take advantage of every opportunity to be in the outdoors. We'll be cooped up in the house trying not to stab one another soon enough.
Amazon Girl is in the fifth grade this year. She loves her teacher, but as usual struggles with social skills. One of her therapists advised me that due to the ADHD she will tend to be about two years behind her peers when it comes to social maturity. While I look at her and contrast her to four or five years ago and see a tremendous growth emotionally and socially, she's still not quite as sophisticated as her classmates. The toys she likes to play with are often more suited to someone younger, and I think the topics of conversation the other girls are interested in are a little beyond her. She gets along wonderfully with the neighbor girls across the street, who are both younger than her. I'm glad she has friends that she can really enjoy playing with, but I sometimes wish I could wave a magic wand and make her relationships at school less angsty for her.
She's been taking riding lessons and I've promised her that when her trainer tells me she can tack up her own horse and walk, trot and canter safely enough to handle her horse outside of the arena, then not only will I take her trail riding with me but that she will be responsible enough to have her own horse and I will transfer ownership of Zenon (the horse in my blog header) to her. I let her make plans for lessons with her trainer and I try not to be there when she takes them or to interfere one way or the other. If the goal is enticing enough to her, she'll do the work.
And speaking of riding, one of the main reasons I'm blogging less is because I'm riding more. Bugs and I have been trail riding almost every weekend, and midweek have attended open team sorting the last few weeks. Its a blast. The goal, if you're not familiar with it, is to move ten cows from one pen to another, in numerical order with a partner. You ride into the empty pen and when the caller tells you to start, one of you heads to the cows. After you've passed through the gate, they tell you which number to sort first. All the cows have a marker on their back with a number from 0 - 9. Whichever cow you are to get first must go through, and then your partner gets the next number and so on. When one person is sorting a cow, the other person's job is to keep the other cows from passing through.
Bugs was a little hesitant to ride into that big group of cows at first, but once he got to chase them he figured out that he really liked it. We have maybe another week or two, then it will be too dark at night and the weekly sort will be over until next summer. Its a great opportunity to work on our skills at turning and backing, and for him to find his "cow sense." He comes from a long and distinguished line of cutting horses, so it is gratifying to find that he really might have some innate skill.
We also tried something new this last weekend - jumping. Holy smokes, what GREAT FUN it is. I had jumped years ago, but not very much. I don't know why I didn't want to get into it more then because right now all I can think about is "when can I do it again???" Bugs enjoyed it too, and he's athletic enough and willing enough that I think we can probably plan on trying some schooling shows in the spring. At the very least we will keep working at it and see if we can't get to the place where we're jumping a few feet higher. My friend Debbie has a passion for jumping and most of her horse career she has ridden jumpers and trained jumpers and their riders. She's very enthusiastic to work with us and I'm thankful to have someone coaching who knows what they're doing.
I tell you what, I would not have thought that at this point in my life Iwould be doing the things I'm doing now on a horse, but I could not be happier. I look forward to every minute I can spend learning new things with Bugs.
We also bought another horse, a very sweet little 5 year old quarter horse mare we call "Penny." For a fairly young horse, Penny is just as kind and calm as you could ask for. She will make a very nice horse for the kids to ride, and SG too once we get some weight on her. Her prior owner had her pastured underneath black walnut trees, which happen to be toxic for horses. As a result, she was underweight and in the beginning stages of laminities and where here hoof wall was separating from the sole she was developing thrush. We'll be rehabbing her feet for a while, but I've gotten to ride her and work with her a little bit and I have high hopes for her.
My stepson is in Florida now and preparing to start flight school. Since its not a permanent post, the Navy doesn't allow as much for housing and for the move, so his German Shephard dog Kylie has come to stay with us for a few months. She's absolutely gorgeous, sweet and smart. It hasn't taken her long to fit in as a country dog. She isn't afraid of the horses at all, and she'll chase the chickens but with no intent to harm them. She clearly knows she's smarter than the other dogs, and she tolerates them kindly, but maintains her boundaries with them. We're just hoping some of her brains will rub off on T-Bone, whom SG keeps threatening to coat in bacon grease and turn loose in the desert north of town for the coyotes if he doesn't stop trying to kill chickens and stealing food off the counter.
SG spent the summer at home with the kids, and now that school has started, its time for him to join the ranks of the gainfully employed. Since we decided he wouldn't be going on the road anymore, finding the right fit for his skills is a little challenging. He can always do the spring outage at the local nuke plant, but that's not for some time, so he's considering all options at this point. In the meantime, he gets the kids on and off the bus and keeps our little farm as spic and span as he can, and his cooking skills have come along very nicely.
On Friday he got neutered a vasectomy. As if on cue, I must have run into no less than ten brand new babies on my next trip to the grocery store. Is there some kind of universal karma that happens when you decide to opt for permanent birth control that tries to instill regret? Fortunately, the sweet, squooshy, adorable little babies were soon followed by a mom desperately trying to corral her older children who were begging for toys while simultaneously attempting to keep her screaming toddler from jumping out of the cart. Oh, yeah. THAT's why we don't want any more babies. Well, that and I'M TOO OLD FOR THAT CRAZY BUSINESS.
Summer flew by this year, and while it seems we were just watching fireworks a couple of weeks ago, already the Halloween costumes are on the shelves. The time, it flies.
I hope your summer was every bit as good as ours was. Pretty soon we'll be wondering where the heck the sun went!