Family Bonding.

Last Friday Mike, Shannon and I packed up the car and headed to CT for a Strong Bonds retreat put on by the Army. To any of my fellow military families out there, if you get the chance to attend one of these, GO! Please! They are great. *Almost* worth missing a whole weekend of working Herself.

Shannon was a champ in the car on the way down, and even though there was a little snafoo with our room key that ended with her and I sitting in the hallway with all of our stuff like total creepers while Mike went to get it fixed. She was a total doll while we got check in, unpacked, cleaned up from the drive and on our way to the first seminar.

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They provided childcare, and the sitters were wonderful, even though it must have been seriously stressful in that room! Shannon was a good girl, only stealing food from a few of her peers! Mike and I learned a lot from a video they showed of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. If you’ve never seen any of his stuff, check it out. Some great points about credit cards, getting out of debt, and entertaining! I mean, the guy pops a balloon full of money… it doesn’t get much better than that! (Well okay, maybe if Willow stops trying to kill me, but the balloon/money thing is a much more likely scenario.)

We had a great dinner, picked up our little girl, and went to sack out for the night. Unfortunately our room was an ice box, so Shannon didn’t sleep much. Typical.

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Midnight bottle and Wipeout!

 

Clearly not amused...

Clearly not amused…

 

Breakfast was at 0700 the next morning, and delicious! The rest of the day was planned out in 50 minute seminars, each based on a ‘habit’ from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. We dropped Shannon off at the daycare room and sat down with our workbooks!

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Yes. My ‘show name’ is Cathleen. 😉

Mike and I took a lot away from the sessions. We’re going to start implementing Sunday night dinners, as best we can anyways. Our schedule doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for family time. Mike is often out of the house by 0430 and back just in time to give Shannon dinner and put her to bed while I go to the barn. I get home and we go to sleep. Sunday dinner will be a good way to bring us back together.

We also learned that I am the reactive type, while often I wonder if Mike still has a beating pulse (they call it ‘proactive’… I call it obnoxious). However I learned that I have to stop and think before I just explode. He learned that he has to communicate better with me, so that I don’t feel the need to blow up at him.

Finally, I really need to learn to prioritize. Big rocks (like cleaning, organizing, cooking dinner, family time) and little rocks (Facebook, Twitter, the Outlander novels -I argued this one-, and tv) can’t all fit in the same cup. I need to put my big rocks in first, then put the little rocks in around them.

Big rocks, for sure!

Big rocks, for sure!

   We learned a ton, and got to check on Shannon during each 10 minute break. We finished up around 2 and then were released to have family time. I desperately wanted to bring Shannon to one of the Children’s Museums or Aquariums in the area, but they all closed at 4 and she was desperate for a nap, so we put her down and spent some quiet time waiting for her to wake up.

When she did we took her down to the pool for a swim! She loved the warm water, but it was pretty busy so we didn’t stay too long.

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The hotel also had an indoor water park, but we didn’t partake, since Shannon was still a little too young and it was packed. It ended up being that we had just enough time to get the chlorine rinsed off and head to dinner. The food the entire weekend was amazing! Shannon happily chowed down on some pasta, bread, and salad and I ate WAY too many pieces of cake. But it was vacation so technically it  doesn’t really count.

After dinner it was bedtime for the wee one (who slept much better, even though our room was still FREEZING… we layered her little butt up) after some running around the hotel room.

And some Kix.

And some Kix.

Breakfast was another 0700 call, so we called it a night fairly early. ;). Shannon was a little bit over daycare by the third day (I don’t blame her. The sitters were WONDERFUL, but it was chaos in there) so we left a little bit early to make our way home. We were given a copy of the book that the Chaplin had based his lesson plans off of, and while I haven’t had the chance to open it yet, I’m excited to put the things that we did learn into action.

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We made a few stops on the way home, so that the wee unit could get out and stretch her legs. I know that she’s naked in the above picture… it ended up being REALLY hot in the car, so we were swapping outfits. I don’t usually travel with a naked child on my lap. 

It was a great weekend, but I was glad to be home with the canines in our own bed! Shannon was pretty happy to not have to sleep in the bathroom another night! 😉

 

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Bad Mare Day

Well. We all knew that the good streak that Willow has been on had to end at some point. To say that I’m at the end of my rope is a bit of an understatement. When the girl is good… lordy she’s brilliant! When she’s bad…it’s really, really bad. 

One of the things that I struggle with is making her a priority. I don’t blog about it too much, but between the baby, the Army, and trying to find time for family (not to mention weather!) Willow always seems to fall to the bottom of the list. The guilt that I feel about it is something that is really hard for me. Mike is now on leave because of our impending move, and I’m excited to be able to take advantage of it to really buckle down and put some elbow grease into her. 

I went out today during the afternoon, since the weather was supposed to get yucky again tonight and I wanted to squeak my barn time in before the yuck hit. Willow gets seriously stressed when she’s in by herself, but tying has worked really well in the past to chill her out. 

Not today. 

I brought her in and she started screaming and bouncing around right away. Sigh. I stood in front of her door and just waited for her to chill out. It didn’t happen. She started trying to climb over the top of the door. Imjit. I backed her off the door and went it to try to slip the knot (I always tie to baling twine, with a quick release). She tried to climb over me and out the door again, clocking me one in the process. Luckily I hadn’t locked the door all the way so we kind of spilled out into the aisle. 

I slipped the knot and put a chain over her nose. Time for ground work. My whole goal for the day was just to pull her in and clean her up a little bit (she’s looking a touch feral…). I took her out into the arena and when she started trying to drag me backwards out the door I gave her a sharp tap with the whip. Apparently that pushed the physco button and she totally lost her mind. Tried to kick me (Momma is smarter than that, beeeotch!) then reared and ran backwards. No ma’am. We did a lot of walk/halt/walks on the ground and took a spin around the parking lot. She was still tense, but at least not rearing anymore. I figured I would leave that battle as it was, on a slightly more relaxed note. At least her eye was a bit more relaxed. 

I really do love her, but she can be the most frustrating thing. Her reactions are always way over the top, and at 17.1…that top is REALLY high up there. I get so discouraged with her, but then I remember that I really haven’t been out to work in a bit (thanks, life) and she’s NEVER been good with being in alone. 

I’m not sure what my plan of attack is for this one. Obviously the issue has to be addressed. I think that her living situation in KY is going to help with that, since I have the option to put her out by herself. I need to have a sit down talk with Becky and pick her brain. I’ve had horses with separation anxiety, but never to this extent (or with this amount of drama). 

Wish me luck, y’all! 

On a positive note, Mike is home on leave (WOOHOO!) and we just got back from a Strong Bonds retreat in CT that took place over the weekend. I’ll do my best to recap that in the next few days. 🙂 

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Poop-tastic

Yea…right now everything in my life revolves around poop.

Baby poop. Horse poop (since SOMEBODY has gotten too lazy to lift her tail to poop…disgusting creature she is). Dog poop. It’s just… poop.

The other day though, was hands down the most spectacular thing that I’ve dealt with in my 20 something years so far. It goes a little bit like this…

Shannon has a diaper rash of unknown origin. She usually gets them when she’s teething but she’s not cutting any new teeth that I can see (and be my guest to stick your own fingers in that snap trap. I ain’t doin’ it.) My usual protocol for diaper rash is to rinse the booty with warm water (no wipes…) and allow to air dry. Once dry, cover area in coconut oil and cover with diaper. When she was a bitty baby, this was no biggie. Let her air dry on a towel and life was good. Now that she mobile, it makes things a little bit more complicated. The kid loves to pee on her feet. She thinks it’s the greatest thing. I’m not sure who she gets that particular habit from. Not me. Promise. I only pee on my feet when I’m drunk, and I can’t even get drunk anymore since I have to be responsible and all.

Anyways. Nekkid time usually consists of Mom chasing Shannon around with a towel and try to intercept any foot peeing before it happens. Key word there was usually. This particular morning I was running late (so it could be any morning really) but when I took her diaper off, her rash was worse than it had been the night before. I figured that if I brought all my clothes into the kitchen, I could put the dogs out, get dressed, hit the ‘go-go gadget’ button on the Keurig, and put my boots on while she did her air drying. Any pee would be on the tile and therefore not a big deal to mop up. I mean, the kid has a bladder the size of a walnut so it’s not like Jaxson peed (which leaves puddles that compare in size to Lake Champlain).

You can see where this is going. Out go the dogs, but of course The Hound has to go leaping past me to chase the cat. There was a brief battle of what to do, seeing as how I was still in my nightgown, but dude wasn’t comin’ home. Not even for the ‘c’ word (cookies, for those of you who don’t speak dog). So. I lock baby into the kitchen, don muck boots and go buggering off after the dingdong.

The dog is on the line and back into the house I go, saying a silent prayer that the neighbors weren’t peeking out the window. I was sexy, I tell you. Didn’t need anyone thinking impure thoughts or anything.

Walk in kitchen. No baby. Okay, she’s probably stuffed herself into a cupboard. No biggie. Open doors. No baby. Uhh… is my child magical?

No. Just a typical kid. I look into the living room and I can see a little foot hanging out from underneath the kitchen table. Text husband: “Need to lower baby gate in kitchen and/or fatten child.” iPhone refuses to send witty text, so I throw that.

I figured that she’s peed a least once, so I grab a paper towel and walk into dining room to retrieve the little Houdini.

Approach child and wonder why shes being so quiet. Also wonder why she isn’t running away…

Get closer. What’s that smell?  What is that brown stuff…? 

Oh. God. Please… Please. Please. Please. PLEASE….

Yup. That poop. A LOT of poop. Sweet baby Jesus.

Have you ever tried to wrangle a nekkid, poop covered child into the bathtub while you are still wearing a nightgown and muck boots?

It’s like trying to stuff wet cats into a hand basket without getting scratched. Ain’t gonna happen. By the time I got up the stairs into the bathroom, we BOTH needed a shower and a stiff drink.

Shower went well enough. We were both cleaned, dressed, and headed back downstairs when I notice that the joint still smells like something died (when baby starts eating real food… oh man… bye bye breastmilk poops). Then notice that poop was not just on small child, but also everywhere that small child smeared it. The table, chair, and there is also a good bit on the cat.

Luckily everything but the cat was easy enough to clean up (I gave him a swipe with a paper towel and a ‘good luck, buddy’) and we managed to get out the door only a half hour later than usual.

Lesson learned!

She pretty darn lucky she's cute!

She pretty darn lucky she’s cute!

11!

One more month to go before a little someone in officially a toddler! Lord help us all!

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Just yesterday (I think) we were packing our hospital bags, now we’re planning a birthday party (owl style… of course. 😉 ).

Some of her favorite things? Dancing to just about anything (including Mommy’s singing… which doesn’t bode well for poor Mike), running after the dogs, stealing their toys, ‘petting’ the cats (poor cats), anything remotely involving water, just about all food (her Momma’s girl!), being outside, calling Daddy 15 times a day on my phone, her Nana, Mimmie, and Grandma, playing with her walker and play table, squealing, and being naked.

omg

 

Some of the things that aren’t very high on her list? Getting dressed or putting a clean diaper on. It’s a race to see who can be quicker, the naked baby running away or Mom and Dad? Getting her face cleaned up. Snuggling (still… sigh). Sitting to read a book. Wearing hats. Watching TV. Plain potatoes. Avacado. Night time bottle (didn’t see that coming!). Being contained when it wasn’t her idea. Shoes.

Really, the list is pretty short. She’s a pretty happy kid, and adapts very easily to any and all new situations. We got lucky!

bahahahaha

The new developments this month? Walking is the biggest one. She’s cruisin’ all over the house and it’s hysterical. She waddles around like a little penguin. I love it. She’s getting bolder and bolder and is starting to pick walking over crawling. With this walking has also come some serious climbing skillz. We have to be vigilant about the stairs or she’s up them before we can even think twice. Our house resembles Fort Knox with the security measures we’ve had to implement to keep her little butt safe.

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She’s also gotten one more tooth, for a total of four! Two top, two bottom. Her current diaper rash is hinting that we might see more in a few weeks, but I can’t feel anything. She’s fallen in love with Thai food. She can figure out how to get into the cupboards like a pro (more baby-proofing implemented ..  and I can’t even figure out how to work the damn things). She LOVES to put her head on pillows, blankets, anything really and will happily give ‘hugs’ if you tell her “Awww…” (Mimmie taught her that one!).  She’s starting to point to things that she wants, which I think is awesome. She’s slowly moving herself from two naps during the day, to one long one around noon. So many things point towards her being a big girl, I can’t even stand it! She’s tipping the scales (our scale, at least) at a hefty 18lbs! She’s in 12-18 month clothes, for the most part, and just making the jump to size 4 diapers!

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hangingwithdad

 

 

pointing

thai

 

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And the blog has it’s own Youtube channel! If you want to keep up with everything video, feel free to hop on over and subscribe! I’ll try to keep Shannon, Willow, and all the other good stuff flowing including vlogging (video blogging) our road trip to KY! 🙂

Check us out : http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTAB6Ckxjc2eq0kVFSbLE-A

Up!

Yesterday was seriously beautiful out. 50 degrees, mostly sunny with just a small bit of wind. The beasts went out naked (and got super muddy) and looked to be enjoying every minute!

Shannon had a great time with her great-grandma yesterday morning, and now that she’s walking, she’s also decided that the norm is going to be one long nap in the afternoon, instead of two long ones. When we got home, I called Mike right away to make sure that he was going to be out at his normal time and if he could meet me at the barn so I could take advantage of the weather. He agreed and Shannon and I set out at 5 so we could meet him for the baby hand off. Willow hasn’t been ridden in a bit, so he agreed to stick around to keep an eye on things.

Turns out that 5 is a pretty popular time at the barn. It seemed like everybody is there, which is great. Mike peeled off with Shannon to get some grocery shopping done, and I got to chat with friends while I tacked up. Does it get any better than that? Not only did I get out of wandering around Hannafords in my blue plaid full-seats, tall boots and helmet hair… but I got to talk. To real adults. About not baby stuff! I was in heaven.

Willow, on the other hand, has never been worked in such a small space with other horses. I figured I would lunge her, just to test the waters and then take it from there. Luckily the girls in the ring were amazingly accommodating to us, and were happy to play merry go round. After a brief fit or two at the mounting block, off we went. That dang horse trucked right around like a pro, totally on point with what I was asking her to do. I’m so thankful to have found Stacy and the rest of the crew. It’s been the perfect intro for Willow into the world of being a grown up horse.

We did a bunch of laps with some green horse stops and starts. I even started to introduce a bit of light contact, collection, and flexation. All of which she handled like a pro. No snarking, refusing to move, nothing.  She circled when I asked her to circle. Whoa’d when I asked her to whoa. No drama. Stacy reported from the ground that her eye was relaxed. Her ears were working. She just felt really good. We hung out in the center for a while, on a long rein, just chatting and patting. She cocked a leg and chilled out, watching what was going on like an old pro.

I’m not sure where my physco horse went, but I don’t miss her! I’m really starting to like this new partnership that I’ve developed, and I’m so happy that I chose to put on my big girl panties and keep chugging away at it, despite such a rocky start. I know that we’ll have lots of bad days to come, but these good ones really keep things in perspective for me! Green horses aren’t easy. Green horses like Willow really challenge you. Emotionally, mentally, and physically but the up is so, so much better than the down.

thumbs up for helmets

 

Meanwhile, at home….

meanwhile....

 

We’ve been dealing with destructive puppy from the underworld. I love him, but sweet baby jesus, dog! That’s a whooooole other post though.

I hope y’all have a great day! We’re off to have some lunch then go for a visit with Nana!

Scratches & a “Moment”

I went out to see Herself a few nights ago, and noticed the onset of scratches. *headdesk*

Scratches can be a big deal, if you let it go. Pretty much, the skin on the horses pastern (which is a flex point) will crack, like your lips in the winter time, if you don’t keep them hydrated. Since the pastern is low to the ground, the hair there often collects dirt and grime. When the horse flexes, the chapped bits crack – like when you smile with your chapped lips- and the grime is free to weasel it’s way into the cracks and the micro-organisms have a grime party. Yuck.

Treatment is pretty easy. Clean the area really well with a gentle soap (I use baby soap), clip the hair short, and make sure that it’s dry all the way, with the scabs picked off (ick). Then you can goop a variety of different choices onto the spot. I prefer Desitin, but anything that will promote healing while keeping moisture out is okay. For bad cases some vets might recommend a course of SMZ’s to help keep the infection at bay. ***I’m not a vet, and ALWAYS consult with a professional when you seek a course of treatment, especially if that treatment requires antibiotics.*** 

Some other names for scratches: mud fever, pastern dermatitis, dew poisoning, greasy heel.

I personally call it “The Yuck”. Blech.

Anyways, back to the story. I asked the barn owner to keep Willow in until I could get her all cleaned up, then armed myself with various gunk and up I went. She was in by herself, and I was surprised to see her just chilling. Normally if I have to bring her in for anything and her friends are outside, she is a total nutbag. I tied her to the wall and started to doctor her all up. Wasn’t I shocked when she just stood there, totally zen, while I scrubbed, clipped, and just generally made an annoyance of myself. She was happy to stand with her foot in the air for however long I required it.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. I was fully prepared to go into battle royale!

After I got her all cleaned up, I untied her, expecting grumpy gills to pin her ears at me and go back to her food. Instead she turned, stuck her nose in my neck and whuffled at me. Huh?! Did the aliens beam you up and replace you with a sweet horse?! Or maybe I’m actually starting to get through to her. We snuggled with each other for 4-5 minutes, with her making soft nickering noises into my neck. Then she gave me a nudge and wandered off to eat her hay.

I’ll take it! I don’t think that I’ve stopped smiling since! 🙂 She DOES like me. We’ll see if we can keep the streak up for her pedicure this morning,  which I am off to now!

Have a great day y’all!

snugglin'

Does it bother anybody else that her halter is all twisted around? I’d frame this if it weren’t for that!