Saturday, August 31, 2013

Busy August

This month really flew past us. I haven't really had a moment to breathe since July 24, when a 12 year old houseguest arrived for three weeks here in her hometown - a total of eight nights spent with us. She was travelling on her own, and anyone who has been responsible for someone else's kid for any length of time, knows that it is a very different kind of stress.

After that, we spent a week volunteering the HECK out of the RCMP Musical Ride, which was touring Vancouver Island. It was great fun, and enormously interesting, but I've never worked so hard in all my life. It started a week before the Ride got here, when my two children, two other young teen riders, and myself prepared stalls for the horses, at the local showgrounds. We filled 36 stalls with sawdust: 4 wheelbarrow-fulls per stall. That is a LOT of shovelling.

After that, it was five 8-12 hour days spent running around at the showgrounds with general dogsbody-type duties, and then another day spent mucking out the 36 stalls once the horses had left. But my kids got some great experience working with an equestrian show, and they also made good friends with an officer or two: not all the riders were friendly, but this one was marvellous and has kept in touch with us since she left.

She let the kids clean her tack, too, which was way more than we were expecting.

And I fell in love with a nice horse, Dave, who looks daft in this photo because I am giving him my horse-whisperer move: scratching inside his ear.

Once that was over, we plunged into a barn move -  my daughter's coach has bought a new property and we have been working feverishly to get the new barn habitable (it was not a well-run stable previously). We spent days tearing down fences, digging out paddocks, painting, cleaning, and dealing with wasp infestations.

The move was supposed to take two months, and has ended up being accelerated - we had ONE crazy month to get everything ready, vacate the old property, and settle all the horses. The horse transfer happens later this morning - happily the new barn is only 4 kilometers from the old, so the senior students will ride them to their new location. It's a nice way to relocate them, as opposed to trailering.

That's me, checking whether my red paint job was as awesome as I thought it was.

Then, last weekend, it was the hunter-jumper show, and my daughters were both competing. Now, a horse show - THAT'S a stressful experience. We camped there, because we had to be prepping horses by 5:30 AM and it seemed simpler, not to mention more fun. But, it poured rain on our tent all night, and I spent half the night shuttling children to and from the port-a-potty, so plans might change next year.

Then I had two days to get my daughter's 12th birthday SURPRISE party was a farewell-to-the-old-barn party: the guests were the other students, the coaches, and the boarders. It was a fun time, and I got some good pictures which I haven't put on my computer yet!

It has rained almost all of August, and we are mentally very ready for fall. I can't wait, actually - it's a nice and restful, though busy, time for me.

Bring on September!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes.

Watching a slideshow on Facebook, of a birth replete with oxygen masks, monitors, and hospital gowns, Avery wrinkled her brow and said this:

“Why would you have a baby in a hospital instead of at home? I mean imagine if you were a baby and the first thing you ever saw was this big beeping thing. Or a lady in an oxygen mask. The first thing I ever saw was my mom and a pool in the bedroom. But I was lucky.”

So funny.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Facebook - the new blogger?

I find I post a lot of things on Facebook, now, that in times past I would have put on the blog. I think with being tired and busy, it's easier just to pop a photo onto Facebook straight from my phone, without having to go through the process of adding text into a post window. On the plus side, I've got a lot of photos to save you the trouble of reading! Win-win.

I took the kids to the pool again tonight, and made another stab at the jump shot. Did a little better this time:

This is one of my favourite ways to spend time in the summer - sitting by the pool deck, book in hand, looking up every now and again to count heads, and just steeping in the atmosphere. The kids in the pool are all splashing, calling, yelling, and laughing. The lifeguards, all sun-bronzed skin and sun-bleached hair, take turns plugging their reggae-filled iPods into a huge portable stereo. On the other side of the chain link fence I lean against, swing chains squeak and children run through gravel. Together, there is nothing more soothing: the happy, dreamy, endless noise of summer for me.

Today, I left "I Capture the Castle" at home and instead worked on the gansey vest.

Sometimes I take off my glasses and then everything looks exactly like this photo: the only thing in focus is the wool and the needles.

And here is my Dad, who walked in to my kitchen as I was making him dinner last week, and took me literally when I suggested he grab an apron and make himself useful. He chose my daughter's Frosted Cupcake apron, and made himself useful by being hilarious in a number of kitcheny scenes and poses.

This is a complete fake. The only thing he is looking for in the fridge is a photo-op.

Dad is stirring a big bowl of nothing, so fast that his hand is blurry. AWESOME.