Multi-Tasking.

I see a lot of threads on COTH asking how people do it with kids and horses… I’ll let you in on something, it’s not easy, but it’s doable! 😉

I have a toddler, two green horses, and I work off board 5 days a week. When I first had Shannon, the kid seriously cramped my style…but as most Moms do, I made adjustments. I asked for help (thanks Mom and Mimmie!), I made sure to find situations where Shannon was welcome to come with me and hang out in her stroller if need be.

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The hardest part, most of the time, is getting through chores. Cleaning stalls, feeding, haying, watering, sweeping, it all takes time. I’ve been doing it since I was young so keeping one eye on the baby while I do my work isn’t rocket science. It IS cleaning stalls, after all. I made sure to plan chores around naptime, and a lot of the time she would take her morning nap in the truck in the heat/AC (I checked on her often). She hung out in her bouncer in the barn aisle when it was empty as well. We also spent a lot of time utilizing soft carriers (mostly Mike… ;).

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The one thing that I was never comfortable with doing was leaving her to sit in her stroller/pack n’ play/swing/whatever while I rode. Willow is still extremely green and I was always worried that she would spook into whatever Shannon containment device I was using, or I would fall off, get hurt, and  be unable to deal with the baby. She always stays my #1 priority, and if I didn’t feel as though it was safe, I didn’t do it. Now that she’s a little bit older, I can give her jobs, like cooling out the horses for me…

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Now that we are over 1,000 miles away from family and Mike is back to work, things are a little bit tricky. Also, I don’t think that it’s EVER going to warm up again, so that throws a real kink in the works as well. The other challenge is that she’s pretty mobile (and she’s well aware of that fact) so she has a hard time just chillin’ in her stroller while I get stuff done.

We had purchased a portable DVD player for our drive down here when we moved, and that’s proven to come in pretty handy. We don’t allow a lot of TV time, but it for the hour or so that it takes me to get chores done, I don’t complain as it keeps her happy. We also utilize the ‘good’ snacks for when she’s at the barn. Setting her up in the truck right outside the barn door with a movie and a snack keeps her warm, safe, and happy. At 13 months she’s way too young to really understand what’s going on and has a pretty one track mind when it comes to paying attention (in that, she doesn’t…). If there are no horses or anything else going on in the barn, she’s allowed to roam at will. 🙂

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My husband is really my greatest ally when it comes to making things work. He’s 110% committed to his job as a Dad and happily shoulders more than his fair share. I used to feel really guilty about blowing out the door as soon as he got home, rattling off a list of what Shannon needed on my way by, but then I realized that it’s not babysitting that he’s doing, it’s parenting. He helped create this little monster, so he can help clean up after her. And he’s damn good at it, too. 🙂 Without him I don’t know if I would be able to juggle everything!

I hope that any Mom’s reading this realize that you CAN do the things that you set out to do before you had a baby. It might take you a little bit longer, and you’ll have to sacrifice, but it’s all worth it when you are able to find that balance. I promise! I’m about 100 years away from where I want to be with Willow, but that’s okay, because we’re all in this together!

Hopefully I’ve got this down to a science now, because we’re expecting baby #2 in October!

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And you bet your dollar I’m still going to get my USDF Bronze! 😉

Settling In!

Hey y’all!

Sorry it seems like I disappeared… again. We have been flat out since our stuff arrived on Tuesday (and our house is nowhere near put together still!) We’re all settling in pretty well though, and getting adjusted to life on a military installation!

Living in this part of the country is so much different than anywhere that I’ve lived before, and I’m trying to embrace as much of it as I can. Our newest edition, Sadie, is embracing the pesky red clay well enough for the whole family though…

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Lovely, isn’t she?

Speaking of Sadie, a little background (because I mean, who DOESN’T move 900 miles away and purchase a horse while they are staying in PA for the night? Right? RIGHT?! Totally normal). Sadie or Happyhappyhappy (Duck Dynasty ref, btw) is a 5 year old Thoroughbred mare that I bought off the track in PA. My friend Ashley made the connection for me, and so far we’ve been pretty happy with the new ‘kid’. She’s about 16.1 (I haven’t taped her… so a rough guess) and had a little bit of a hard time adjusting, but once we got her hind shoes pulled and put her out with Willow and Willow’s new friend Taffy, she was totally chill. She’s a smart girl, and I’m hoping she will fit into our family! Mike is in love with her, so… ya know. 😉

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Word on COTH is that I have a type… I have no clue what they are talking about… 🙂

Willow is totally at home in her new place. She had no trouble settling in whatsoever. She did lose a little bit of weight on the trailer ride down (more on that later), I expected it and we’re working to plump her back up. Hopefully I can unearth the other half of my tack soon, so that she can actually go to work! I think she MUCH prefers hanging out in her pasture with her friends, but alas…

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As for the non-equine portion of our family, everybody is doing well! I had a lot of expectations about what it would be like living on a military post, but in reality it’s nothing like you see on TV. We are loving it though, and have even had our fair share of wildlife in Paul the Possum who set up camp in our backyard, the deer that are MUCH braver than in VT, and the hoards of rabbits that live…everywhere. I don’t mind though! At least there are no bears (that I know of).

Shannon is doing really well. She’s over her cold and loving the open concept of our new house. She can frolic and destroy from one end to the other at will (which makes unpacking a bit of a challenge). We have a playground just a few blocks up and even had our first coffee date today! (Thanks, Michelle!) We also have a water park that is fairly close, that I’m hoping will have some toddler appropriate activities to do with her this summer. Louisville also has a zoo and several aquariums that I’m excited to take her to once the weather gets a little bit nicer. Shannon is also totally digging the fact that we have a backyard, front yard, and pinwheels on either side of our front walk. Girl loves her pinwheels! She also has a blast at the commissary and PX, but I think she gets confused by all the men and women in uniform. She points to them all and proclaims, “Da!”

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All in all, we’re loving it down here, despite all the changes that we’ve gone through. Everybody is adjusting better than I could have thought! Even the dogs are doing well. They are enjoying being dogs and romping around the back yard, wrestling, digging holes, and harassing Paul the Possum.

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We have a few more days before Mike actually has to go back to work (hopefully he remembers how to put on his uniform…) and we’re planning on using them to get the house unpacked and do a bunch more exploring!

Hope that you all have a great weekend!

We Made It!

And we’re all in one piece!

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We  just got our internet all hooked up a few hours ago (which, to me anyways, is super exciting so that I can keep up with all my friends back home!)

The trip was pretty uneventful, really, and while it was a bit bothersome being in a hotel longer than we expected to be, at least we were able to stay at a nice place.  The Baymont Inn and Suites in E-town gets two thumbs up from me!

The area that we’re living in is a big change for me. I’m used to quiet little Fairfax, where we had to travel a bit to get to the grocery store. Now it’s like we’re living in the center of it all and that’ll take some adjusting for sure. It’s nice to have  just about everything that we need right outside our doorstep, but at the same time I miss the quiet country!

We’ve had a few hang ups since we got here, none that are overly remarkable, really. Shannon got her first cold, ever (which she then so kindly passed to me) and we’re still waiting on our hot water to work, but everybody that we’ve had to work with to get things under control has been beyond helpful and accommodating. Mike has been a super trooper, getting the trailer unloaded by himself while I’ve been flat out, so that we can at least have dishes, clothes, and a bed. I think I need to clone the man and start selling them. 😉

Shannon handled the trip better than either of us could have ever dreamed that she would (the worst was Dixie, who sat directly behind my seat and whined insistently for the last 600 miles). I don’t think that she threw one fit the entire time. We had a few nights of not wanting to go to sleep, but not only is she cutting teeth, but she was sick and in a new place. I, for one, don’t blame her for not wanting to sleep in that pack n’ play either. We cycled DVD’s through on her DVD player, toys, bottles, and snacks to get her through the longer stretches and she didn’t fuss at all.  I think I have a golden child or something. Maybe she’s just young enough to not understand? I for one don’t really blame her for sleeping as much as she did, though! The start of this cold has knocked me flat! The car seat angle is also pretty optimum for nose drainage.  So, fellow parents, it IS possible to rear face past a year on a cross country trip!

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Our new house is better than we could have hoped, as well! I’m not sure if I can freely post pictures on my blog or Facebook for PERSEC reasons, but we have more space than we did at home (yay for Mom having her own office!) AND hardwood floors that I dreamed about while I was having to run the vacuum four times a day back home. Living on a military base is a change, but it has some perks for sure! I feel much safer living in a city this large knowing that we’re pretty hard to get to. The Commissary (grocery store) and the PX or Exchange (which is like a big Rite-Aid with a food court, furniture store, and a bunch of other stuff) make the budget breathe a little bit easier. The rules are pretty strict so I guess I’m going to have to keep my speeding in check, and we are a serious haul away from Mike’s office which we hope will end up working out in our favor.

The most stressful part of this whole thing? Dixie (well and finding a place for the horses…yes… plural! More on that later. 😉 ). Every time somebody walks by the house, or a car drives by, or or or… she barks. A lot. I’m a little bit worried that she’s going to make a pain of herself if she can’t figure out how to settle down about living in a more populated area. Having the yard is really nice and when they are through their 2 week quarantine period I plan on making lots of trips to the dog park so she can get the excess energy out of her system (which usually sometimes helps!) but I am a little bit nervous. She’s always been a very vocal dog and when we were living in a quiet area where not a lot of people could be bothered by her, I thought that it was GREAT. Here, though, I’m worried it’s going to be a big problem, moreso because the school bus pick up/drop off is right in front of our house. I have a plan, but I’m just praying that our neighbors understand. All the backyards are connected and she has one of those barks that you can hear from a ways away.

So that’s all for now (exciting, huh?). And as a PS.  I am sorry about such crap quality of the pictures! They were all on my cellphone since our brilliant movers managed to pack my actual camera that we bought for the trip! D’oh!