Thursday, January 9, 2014

Science Fair

On the 17th, my Roo will enter her second school competition/demonstration... The annual Science Fair.
It's a big big deal.

In the summertime I was considering how much she adores sauerkraut, as she was heaping on loads of it onto her Home Depot Hot Dog Stand hotdog.  Which happens to be my kids' favorite kind of hot dog in case you were wondering.  As she was piling on more and more of it, I thought, "We should make summa dat."

Then came assemblies and open houses and school-year calendars etcetera, and it came to me as I read the words "Science Fair" across that Friday in January.  SAUERKRAUT.  So we developed an hypothesis based on what she knows about food going bad, how the refrigerator helps, and how Laura Ingalls might have kept food fresh without a refrigerator.  "Why doesn't cabbage rot when it sits in salt??"

Christmas break was a great time to start the stuff since it needs time to get all fermenty and lactic-acidy and stuff like that.  We started it on the 5th of January and we're hoping it will be nice and delicious on the day of the fair.

While perusing online, I came across this super-simplified explanation of the process and tutorial.  We read it together, writing down key words that we want to memorize and understand.  I wrote them out in a list and she copied them over and over while I chopped up the cabbage.  I've been researching other sites and books too, but I liked how this blog made it easy for me to explain the process to her!
http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-easy-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193124






It's pretty simple really.  You chop up a head or two of cabbage, removing the core first.
I sliced it into shreds and threw it in a huge bowl.
Roo sprinked some Kosher salt on it, and got to work "kneading" it all together, if you will.  Even if you won't.
It was hard work!

As your squeeze and press and smoosh it, it all starts to get pretty juicy.  The liquids are released and the girl's hands get tired and the mom finishes up for her.



(Please note appropriate attire for such activities as this.  Pajamas: The key ingredient to any successful sauerkraut production.)







We added coriander seed like the recipe said.  Why not.  YOLO.

Then you use a cabbage leaf to cover the top of the jar, and weigh it down with another jar full of water or something.  This makes sure the sauerkraut is completely submerged in the liquid for the first day.  Over the next few days it makes more liquid and you don't have to worry.  So don't worry!

So there you go!  Cover it with a towel, check on it once in a while, and you're done!   I meant to start like seven more batches the next day, so people could taste-test it, but I didn't.  I'll have to try to today and hope it has some flava once the day comes.  We'll take some pictures later of how it's looking now, when she gets home to check up on her little project.  We'll also start a jar without any salt and hope it's not TOO repulsive in a week when we show the comparison of food preserved in the salt brine versus nothing at all!  Hopefully over the weekend we can review what we learned, the vocabulary words, and start putting together our presentation board.  She seems so grown up!!!!  I mean, it's the Science Fair!  Sheesh!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Let's try this again.

This place... It seems familiar...
Kind of comfy, like I've been here before.  In another life maybe?
Like maybe once upon a time when the days were warm and the sun shone over us in glorious, immeasurable hours?  Certainly not when I was counting the days to the solstice like a kid counting down to Christmas, aching for the days to start getting longer...  Nope, that'd be about now.
Or maybe back when a little girl turned big and started Kindergarten?  (not me, my daughter.)
Maybe once or twice when there were great joys to share, and excited hands for the typing? 
It seems like a long time ago.  Oh, Time, you ol' dog you!!  You ol' hound dog!

Obvs I have not visited here in a long time.  One or three of you have made mention.  It was brought to my attention.  I took note.  I thought about typing stuff out again.  I brewed up little posts in my head whilst washing dishes or staring at Facebook and Pinterest.  I composed a narrative or two while my hands were dough-deep in sourdough experiments.  I even devised little diddies while I delved into Friday Folders in a frenzy on a rushed Monday morning, or five.  But nope, didn't make it over to Ginnboree! dot com to make anything of it all.  Those poor, lonely thoughts.  Just stuck.  In my brains.  In my sticky, slimy brains.  Gross.

How have you been?  How was your Christmas or whatever it is you people celebrate?  Ours was good.  Probably my least favorite of all time while holding Mom status, but still good nonetheless.  The best and super-greatest part was watching my stinking kids open gifts.  Ohhhh.  Emmmmm. Geeeeeee.  Want to see a video?  I would post it but it takes 6 point 5 hours to upload and I just don't know if it's even close to conveying THIS joyous message:  My kids love presents.  Yes, you heard it here first.  They do.  They like, LOOOOVE them.  And there's lots of not-annoying screeching and squealing (not like pigs, but more like you know- excited kids and stuff) going on.  It just makes you happy.  Maybe even so happy that you are considering going around the house and grabbing laptops and jewelry and bungee cords, anything you can find, and wrapping them up quick like a ninja, and just feeding it all to them so they'll open it.  I didn't do all that but I gave it great consideration.  Oh those, happy, present-opening kids.  Made my holiday.

I would like to explain two things:  1.  Why this was probably my least fave Cmas since becoming a mom, and 2. Why I'm titling this (--wait, titling... Is that right?  Title-ing?) AHEM! this post 'Let's try this again'.

First up, the Christmas thing.  Oh gosh.  Did you know I'm a fool for Christmas?  I love it with my whole heart.  Well, this year... I think it snuck up on me, or... I didn't take time to enjoy it or... I was in a funk and didn't see much past all the stuff to get done and the places to be etc... Maybe all of it?  I don't know.  It was busy.  I was distracted.  I have not been myself.  Unfocused, scattered, busy- which are all ME on a moderately manageable basis.  But lately.  Nope.  Not so moderate.

I always felt like I became ME when I had Roo.  I had my purpose, I was good at being hers, and I knew that each day I was living, I was living for her.  And then her brother.  And once he joined us, there were just lots and lots of days in survival mode.  That's when the Mister was in Fruita living and working, I was a wreck post-partum, and the post-partum emotions just kind of hung around for a couple of years.  Once that stint of living apart and me being so so so alone was over, we decided to buy this house.  And I was so thrilled for the new chapter, I was so happy, I was so in love with this.  But I was kind of alone still.  I started writing here to record our projects, journal a little, keep track of all the fun happy things going on.  Being here on Ginnboree was such a nice way to ramble and be heard and to be connected to the 2 or 3 of you reading what I write.  You guys could be part of our life and see the details as personally as possible while living so far away.  Sharing the bright side made me eager to SEE the bright side.  Because sometimes you have to go searching for it.

The past year has proven to me that you get what you give.  We moved in here, and oh man, I GAVE.  I was determined to live it up, share the joy, see the joy, and be the joy.  I worked hard at it.  I mean, sometimes, it was work.  But it... worked.  Mostly.

Then stuff happened.  You see how short life can be.  How it can change in an instant.  How you want it to be as full as it can possibly be, you want to see it just bursting at the seams.  You want it to be loud and silly and messy and raw.  You want to take it on with someone who is just as excited and eager as you are.  And you want to feel like you're okay for wanting so much out of it.

I have not really felt like it's okay for me to want so much out of it.
I have not really felt like anyone else is just as excited and eager.  On the same page, traveling the same path, slurping the same spaghetti noodle.  (Lady and the Tramp?  You know?)

Now, I'm not really wanting to complain about marriage or partners or whatever.  Well I kind of do, but just not here.  Roo is almost 6, which means that we've been together for 7 years now.  So maybe it's the sev-- Ding ding ding, did you just run the numbers and figure out our problem!!???  Oh you are my favorite!  Yes!  Of COURSE!!  We did not know each other when we had a baby.  Oh dear, it makes sense now!!!!  Ok.  Gosh.  I will totally get some sleep tonight.

So there you go.  We did not know each other when we had a baby.  And so, me being me and feeling like I BECAME ME once I had a baby, well shoot!  How lucky for the mister!  He's got the babies figured out, with no more on the way.  He's got the wife thing figured out, managed if you will.  So what a loop it must throw one for once the first baby starts school and the mother realizes that life keeps going once the babies are in school.  The mom, who has not had a real job in years, who never ever ever had a career, now gets to decide what in the world is next.

And you know what?  You learn things.  You learn that you have time to think about friendship and life and love and marriage.  You learn that you can do things other than keep a house almost-clean.  I know I know I know- I do other things.  But purpose I guess is what I mean.  There are more purposes for a mom.  A mom is multi-purpose and highly concentrated.  Like Windex, only a little more eco-friendly.  And in my case, not nearly as great at keeping a streak-free shine.

Oh I've had some downs.  And ups too, but lots of downs.  What is it about redefining purpose that makes you hyper-aware of all the stuff you know could use a little attention.

So I sit here, sort of just enjoying the moment for what it is.  When I say 'enjoying', I mean just... reveling.  Being in the moment despite what it is.  Sometimes it's a happy moment.  Sometimes it's a reflective one.  Sometimes I'm downright angry or dissatisfied.  But I'm feeling it and that's what I'm focusing on.

A few months ago I took a girls' trip- my first one ever.  Five of us met in Minneapolis for two days and two nights for my friend's 30th birthday.  I got  the cheapest flight that ever existed on the planet and I went.  I needed to.  And I didn't know how much I needed to until I was there.  In that snazzy hotel suite full of females, I learned that we all wonder who we are, we all have marriage problems, we all hate our stomachs or our thighs or our whatevers.  We all want to feel pretty when we put on a dress, we all are secretly openly hoping we get a little attention when we step out, and we all wish there was just one more hairdresser in the group so we can get a blow-out too.  It's true.  I wouldn't say that I came back from that trip a completely changed woman, but maybe a partially changed one.  I felt very normal during and after that trip.  I left there infinitely more confident in myself.  I left there with a few new VERY GOOD friends.  I left there knowing that my brain is actually kind of normal, along with my worries and insecurities and guilt and fears etcetera.

So if my brain is actually pretty normal while it's balancing all my thoughts and goals and dreams inside it, then I think to myself, "Maybe I should just feel what I feel."  I realized that it's okay to just be... I don't know... Focused on things other than all the other stuff?  Meaning, myself?  Focused on myself.  To a point, I think that's allowed.

I found a job.  Rather, a job found me.  I started working at an interior design showroom one day a week, and freelancing another day per week with my freelance-job-giving gal that I worked with at the beginning of the year.

In November, I set some health goals for myself.  I turn thirty next June, and I decided that I'm going to have the healthiest, strongest body of my life once I hit the mark.  I want to feel pretty invincible inside and out.  I've started running again, pretty regularly, and I can't tell you how nice it is for my brain to be outside, my heart pumping, and my thoughts just as free as my feet are.   I'm signing up for a couple of races with friends in the spring, including a half marathon sometime next year.  I will not be racing per se, but I'll be participating :) I'm already feeling healthier inside too which is one of my biggest goals, so yay for internal health!!

I have also almost accepted that I can't control LOTS of things.  Building projects, snarky preschoolers, hormones... I mean there's lot of stuff up for not-controlling.  I'll leave it at that because it's pretty all-encompassing. Basically if you can think of it, it's something I won't be able to control.  And that's ok.

I am accepting also that husbands do not read minds.  I am learning to be pretty open about my feelings, even if they're hard to share.  My friend told me recently that if we don't actually spell out for them what we'd like to see change, tell them our joys and disappointments when it comes to our marriage, hard as it may be at times because we're afraid of being so truthful, then it's not fair to them.  I hadn't thought of it that way, but now I see the light.  I've settled in quite comfortably in a very frank conversation or two, and you know what?  Everything's still okay!

I know that the holidays are not the time to be introspective, self indulgent and lost in your own thoughts.  And though we all try to stay ahead of the hustle and bustle of the season, sometimes there is just not enough time for all the effort you think you need to put into it.  I have never been so out of tune with the simple joys of Christmastime as I was this year.  It all seemed to be task related and crammed.  I did not do it well, even though I felt like I was giving my all.  

So I think I'm ready to try it again.  I know I can be a little bit of who I was before the mom-ness kicked in, a little bit of who I am since all of the deep digging began recently, and a LOTTA bit of the mom that defined me the past so-many years.  I really really hope that I can make this little journal on this piece of internet real estate here a big part of that, because it was like a big comfy pillow to me this past year or so.  A cozy place to sit and reflect, and it made me happy.  I'd like to try this again.

This is not a resolution for 2014 per se, but maybe what I hope to remember through the new year of Me Improvement.  I'll be feeling what I feel.  I will recognize when I'm needing me-time, where I never could see it before.  I won't feel like we're doomed when I'm disappointed in my marriage or this or that- because disappointment is normal and can be worse when it's ignored.  I will certainly be taking a minute to meet with girlfriends even IF it's a weeknight or I'm tired or something... I feel better when I make the time.  I won't expect my husband and kids to provide me with a drink for all the thirsty facets of Ginny, but I think it's okay to find an oasis where one exists.
We think it takes a village to raise a child but I'm learning that it takes one to raise a mother.

 My mom pinned this on Pinterest.  I saw it as an affirmation to what's up with my stinky-face and reflective heart these days.

Let's try this again!!







Thursday, August 22, 2013

What now? Kindergarten or something?

I type to you now in proof that I survived the Fiskars that possessed my darling precious daughter, and hacked her hair to pieces.  We all survived, actually, and I think I learned a lesson within the demi drama.  That lesson is:  If your daughter cuts off 7" of hair, you will argue over morning hair-brushing NO LONGER.  Nevermoooorrrrre!  It's that easy!  And your relationship will prosper because of it.  We frolic through fields cast in golden-hour glow and she helps me fold laundry and stuff.  I swear.

Before:

 






See?  Everything turned out okay... And besides, it's gone.  We can't get it back.   I'm done being sad crying, she has a feather to help disguise the chopped up bits (we refused to cut her hair up to her ears), and she can get a hairbrush through the rest finally.  Win!

I guess the only natural thing to do now would be to go to Kindergarten.

She was so excited, so ready.  Made it easy to drop her off for her first day in Elementaryland... At least if it weren't for my darn stinging nose and soggyish eyeballs.  Just for a minute- I was tough!








Today we wrapped up her first week.  Tomorrow is a flex day for testing, as well as Monday.  She tests on Monday, so she'll only have to go for about 20 minutes in the morning.  I'm happy to have three 4-day weeks with her at this early beginning... We sure do miss our Roo all day long.  I wish every week was four days instead of five :(  


 I'm figuring out what it is to have a single child at home.  I couldn't have known how amazing their little bond is, how much quality time they'd gotten to spend with one another all these years.  I think they're really lucky.  Now that Tulah's at school, Knox has only me.  And I can guarantee Roo was WAY more fun to run around and play with all day!  I will eventually find him a part-time preschool but I sure do want to take this time to be everything I can to him.  We have an opportunity to spend some awesome days together before HE hits the books and the school lunches and the summer vacations- and that will be before we know it.  I'll need to work soon...  I need to reconcile that with how I am feeling about only two more years of precious minutes with my little RhiKnoxerous.  But for now, I am omitting what I can from our days and working on being here, right now.

 I know I can't keep them little forever but it's really hit home this week.  Days go by.  Days where, even up to this end of summer vacation, I was running behind with everything, playing catch-up to chores or errands or this or that.  Even with all of my efforts to slow down and soak soak it up, still in such a hurry.  What did it matter.  And now I don't get it back.  The days, the chopped hair... We don't get that stuff back.  I already feel like I'm remembering it all in bits and pieces.  So I look forward now to all of the fabulous things she has to say about her day at school.  Watch her talking to new friends like a big girl as I drop her off at the cafeteria.  The supersized smooches and hugs and "Knox let GOOOO!"s that happen as we pick up Big Sister at the door every afternoon- stuff she'll be, like, so TOTALLY embarrassed about one day.  Doing workbooks and projects with Knox.  Dates with my little buddy.  Not answering calls, running less errands, involving him more in the little things throughout the day. New School Year's resolutions, maybe.  If she loves it nearly as much as she loves riding those horses, then this will be one of THE greatest experiences of her life.  Ready or not, heeeeeere's the next big chapter!



 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

haircuts are the devil

Do any of you have experience with... like, your daughters cutting off all of their hair?
A week before Kindergarten starts?
After over a year of trying to grow it out, after you, yourself, cut off too much a summer ago when it was FINALLY getting long?
Two wrongs do not make a right.  I am sick right now.

This was taken just hours ago :( :(


Now I know that it is JUST HAIR.  HAIR.  Hair grows and grows and just grows some more.  Growing is its only job.  But for my Roo, growing is something it has had a hard time doing.

Until this past year.  2013 was a good year for Roo's hair.  It has gotten down to right past her shoulders.  It does little tricks in the form of waves and flips.  For no reason at all, the underside always parades about her shoulders in straight-up ringlets.  It is golden and glisteny and has framed her little fine-featured face in the prettiest way.  It has made her look so sweet and grown-up-ish, for a five year old.  I have been loving it silently so as not to appear all braggy and stuff.  When it's first brushed, it's all poofy and soft and even longer looking.  And now it's gone.

And I'm crying like we've lost limbs or something.




This evening I was getting the kids and Dad a picnic packed so that they could all go fishing as soon as he got home from work.  Roo came into the kitchen several times talking about getting a haircut all of a sudden.  Telling me how short, and that she wanted it cut like her friend Cooper's.  Well, Cooper cut her own hair off, right at the top, like bangs that start at the back of her head.  It was not cool for her mother and they're still recovering.  I should have known her curiosity was piqued when she brought it up so much tonight.  I told her we'd do haircuts after school starts, and it will be so fun.  I also told her it would be fun to keep it long.  What I should have said is that under no circumstances should she lay a finger on a pair of scissors for the next three years of her life, or ELSE.  I should have known she would want to try it herself, but was so absorbed in getting that stupid dinner packed for them before Nick got home that I blew it off.


Funny thing is, that today I have been trying really hard not to get so caught up in my own stuff.  Reminding myself a lot that I DO have time to come see what they have growing in their "aquarium" (a bucket outside that is growing algae and is also a super fascinating under-the-sea mini habitat.) or to help them dig the makings of a volcano in the sandbox.  I didn't stop much to do that stuff and tried hard to tackle the necessary housekeeping during nap (didn't get far) so that I could spend more time paying attention.  I'm bad about it lately.  So much to do.  and I know what you're going to say... "The housework can wait!"  Well it has waited and waited and now it's just plain gross and I don't know where anything is and stuff needs mending and I'm resorting to plasticware because my dishes are disgusting piles of nasty all over my sink and counters and I don't know what's hiding in the dog hair fluffballs under the furniture and in the corners.  I'm pretty sure I've walked into the house a hundred times in the same shoes I just cleaned out the chicken coop in, and that might be dried milk on the floor under the table.  Which table?  The dining table AND the coffee table.  Gross.  And now...  Yeah.  Lesson learned, Whomever Needed Me to Learn That Lesson.  Lesson learned.

Yes she's kissing a cicada, but ignore that for a second and look at the hair that is now gone.  I wasn't ready for this.

So Mister got home, whisked the kids away, and I spent the next three hours deep (a debatable adjective I know...) cleaning a few rooms that have been seriously neglected since I LAST deep cleaned them about three weeks ago, for a whole week, another time when I should have been building volcanoes and scooping algae instead. But I'm not going to gripe and complain that I don't have enough help in the evenings when we could spend 20 or thirty minutes together a night, tidying up or sweeping a floor or loading the dishwasher.  Nope, because I'm happy to do all that while I'm also keeping children alive and supporting emotional and brain development.  While balancing on my head.  I would feel horribly if anyone else around here saw a mess on the floor and picked it up, or even put leftovers away after the dinner I cooked from the groceries I bought, and served on the dishes I washed, was all eaten up and left to spoil on the counter overnight if I wasn't around.   I won't whine about the fact that I was gone five days with the kids, leaving Mr. Boree here to maybe lift a finger or two uninterrupted, but supported him instead in his vegging on the couch and fishing several times.  Not at all upset at the state of the house when we got home after 20 hours in the car alone with my kids... nope, not a problem.  I would have hated if he could have done the dishes even ONCE, or fixed the broken sink, or put in new shower handles or something.  The knee-high weeds are really lovely in the backyard, really.  Nope, if I didn't have SO much mundane busy work to catch up on during the week of daytime hours, I would have countless more minutes to donate to the little blonde heads that beg me to play with them as I insist it'll be just another minute, I promise.

I think that's why I burst tonight.  I exploded a little.  But like, ALL OVER my freshly cleaned slate of a house.
I had power cleaned for three quiet hours, rejoicing the fact that I would have to do nothing of the sort tomorrow and we would play all day on our own time.  I thought about what we would do, starting with a playdate with friends we haven't seen in a month.  I went upstairs to dump the bathroom trash, and what did I find.  A MESS OF GOLDEN LOCKS.  My brain went numb, and then I thought, "Did Mister cut Knox's hair???!"  He's always threatening to, jokingly I think.  But why would he, he was in a mad rush to get fishing while I was in a mad rush to pack their picnic dinner.



TULAH.  TULAH ROO.
Her little voice echoes to me..."Mommy I would just get a haircut JUST like Cooper's, just like she cut hers." and my voice, "Umm hmm let's get a haircut after school starts honey... Do you need to grab a jacket for fishing?  Do you want a water bottle and bananas packed?" and how I should have known.  She'd find a quick second to cut her hair like Cooper's. Not Cooper's style... Cooper's technique.  Just grab some shears and go to town.

I called Mister, who was almost home from fishing.  "Did Tulah cut her hair??????"  Him:  "How should I know, what do you mean?"
Me:  "There's hair in the garbage!!  Like 6" of golden hair!  Did you look at her tonight while you were fishing and notice her hair was funky and HALF MISSING???"
him:  "No but we're almost home, I don't know, she won't answer me."  Of COURSE you didn't notice.  Great.

I was bawling when they got home.  Then Tulah started crying, which was one part me bawling, one part Daddy kept them out like WAY too late, and five parts SHE CUT HER HAIR OFF.  I told her she was in big trouble (I don't know why I said that, I don't threaten and what would I possibly do to punish this??!!!  I was just upset and talking crazy.)

In a wild mess of kids dumping their sand-filled shoes ALL OVER my freshly cleaned/scrubbed/mopped floors and jackets and tears flying all over the place, I lost it and removed myself from the bedtime routine.  I had control over nothing.  So many thoughts and intentions throughout the day, dancing through my head on keeping focus on THEM and not stupid tasks that need attention, places to be, errands to run, so many calls to make... How to ask Mister if he could help out just a teeny sprinkle of a smidge once or twice a week... Business ideas for me (yeah right that's happening.) and plans to help with the horses, other things crowding my mind and the energy it takes sometimes to connect with what's important and focusing on awesome stuff and stuff.  My brain is crazy sometimes and I feel a lot like I'm sorting through it physically, and alone.  Which makes me emotional.  And then I crack.  Like tonight.

I know I'm not crying only over beautiful wisps and locks of golden strands in the garbage.  Self-inflicted wounds to the hair.  I'm not only mourning the fact that I'd pictured her already in her first school picture, her KINDERGARTEN photo with her hair long and full and curled special for that day.  The year or more it took to get this loveliness to where it is.  I'm just sad about all of it.  The busy-ness of the week, one of her last weeks home with me all day.  The intentions I had committed to myself and even to my children OUT LOUD today to be so attentive and available to them right NOW, not in ten minutes.  The steering of my thoughts in a direction of what the daddy of the house DOES do (and he does a lot!!!!), figuring out what I could do better/faster so that I don't have to bug him for help.  Trying to remember that he can't read my mind, but feeling like, 'dang it, I WANT him to!!'.  (And ps:  Sorry Husband, but telling me I need to 'get a grip' tonight during the debacle has now made you Ginny Enemy Number 1, a close tie with those daggone blunt-tipped Fiskars that wreaked carnage all over my girl's head.)  Getting over how horrible the house and yard has felt all week since we got back, and not having the time to get it in order alone.  And now my daughter's hard-working hair is gone, and her school career is about to start, and I can't stop crying about every bit of it all as the hours creep into a.m. territory while I type.  Surely staying up this late will make EVERYTHING feel better in the morning.  I certainly do not need my sleep, no siree.


“Those who do not weep, do not see.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Mis
I have some incredible vision tonight, you guys.




Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ridin' Hawses

There's something about a Saturday night rain that makes a Sunday morning feel extra cozy.
I woke up to some impatient squawking out my back window, got out of bed, and released my little hennies from their confinement.  Those girls just rush out their coop door like escapees from Folsom, and sometimes you have to be quick in your early morning sleepiness not to get a wing to the face as they flee their roosting bar.

The air is gray.  It smells heavy and earthy and rich, like dirt.  Rain like last night's comes very, very rarely around here the past few years, so something about it also smells new.  I'm happy I'm the only one awake right now.

Last time we talked I was buzzing with thoughts and goals hanging out under an umbrella of ambition.  That motivation I was feeling must have known the rain was a-comin'! 
I was eager to get m'girl onto a horse for her first time.
I had a tree and about 100 little tiny perennials in flats in my front yard, waiting for me to get planting before they dried up in their plastic seedling pots.

Well, we got our tree in.  I don't have the greatest photo for you, but I can at least prove that it's planted:

 I swear, every. single. day. I have a neighbor stop their car or their feet or their bike or dog as they pass by to ask about that tree, or to tell us how niiiiiiice! it's all looking up front.  I love it, I have to say!  (A lot of times they throw in something about our sweet kiddos :)  I don't realize until I walk down the street what a difference has been made there.  Seems slow moving to me but I guess when you face our house every time you leave that cul-de-sac ahead of us, a little change goes a long way.  Makes me feel good that people can see we love our home.

So anyways, then I planted all of these little sweeties over a couple of free hours:
And we've gotten rain twice since, and temps around 90 or less!  It was meant to be my planting season.
They don't look like much I know, but these little guys pack a punch.
I got them from a little tiny garden shop near our old house.  It's called Al's Pine Garden, even though Dan and his daughters run it.  He starts most of the seeds himself, and sells the little packs of seedlings for next to nothing.  For example, one of the little 6x8" flats, with approximately 10-15 starters in each one, is about $2.49.  And now, middle of summer, everything is 20% off.  I estimate there are about 100-120 little plants here in this collection I exhibit for you in the above photo, and including tax it all cost me $50 of birthday money.  That's including three grasses, which I adore, sweet potato vine, sedum, random ground covers, about 40 daisies, calendula, Cupid's Dart, columbine, etcetera etcetera.  I had a lot of irises popping up in a clump within the burm where this is all being planted, so I chopped out some rhizomes and scattered them throughout the area too.  This is an investment for next year, when all this will have been established and sleeping all winter, waiting to pop up and go nuts next spring.  I CAN'T WAIT.  This is how I did most of our planting at our last house... Bargains this year = crazy yields and surprise the next.

NOW, we MUST talk about a girl and her horse love.


OBSESSED.
Everything now is horses, horses, horses!

The night we first met this horse family we went over for Tulah's first ride.  Right off the bat they walked her through every bit of responsibility when it comes to riding.  Keeping the horse tethered while you check him over.  Brushing his coat in case of any matting that might get sore under the saddle.  Picking his hooves before you work him.  Blankets, saddles, stirrups, bits, halters, bridles... These gals explain everything as they do it, and they have a very captive audience :)

Now Roo... For a while there I thought she was not always been the most adventurous, per se, but she likes the idea of new things usually, at least.   She's gotten more sure of herself in the last year or so, and it's always fun to see her accomplish something that I wouldn't have necessarily expected from her.  I used to make the mistake of assuming she was my little book-worm type of learner, my little artist, my delicate flower.  I found myself really excited when she started soccer and did pretty darn well with it.  I was definitely surprised when she found herself riding a two-wheeled bike at almost 4 and a half and tearing across monkey bars.  I think I, unknowingly, limited my view of her for a season or two, maybe assuming that her little brother was the "physical one" and that she had her feet comfortably on the ground, nose in a phonics workbook.  But they're both going to do and love a variety of things, hopefully... You should see my "Anti-SIT DOWN for a Minute" Buddy relax and draw funny pictures, and actually color a page from a coloring book!  Whoa.  Crazy stuff going on around here.  And Roo?  Man, she's just as sure of herself as can be up on that giant horse.  Her bottom is sitting 5 and a half feet off the ground, and she doesn't think a single think about it.
Actually, at five and a half feet up, she thinks she's reached Heaven.




She is so proud of herself here, up there on that horse she loves so much!  She's got the reigns, mommy cheering her on, and new friends/teachers putting their faith and encouragement in her as they give her the freedom to actually RIDE this horse.  Not just sit on it while he walks around, but give him commands, hang on with her little legs, and be the boss.  After a lap around the arena, she declares she's ready to trot.

looking pretty legit.
OH yeah.  That's a dust cloud.

Knoxer got up there too, just a little tiny-looking buckaroo!





Now, none of this would have been possible for Tulah Roo if I hadn't met the right people.  Do you ever just turn a corner and meet, like, the RIGHT people?  At the RIGHT time?  When it just feels like this was what was supposed to happen?  That's how I feel with this family of horse lovers who have taken us in.  Gena (sounds like 'Jenna') is the mom of Andrea, 19, and Alyssa, 18.  And Zach, but he is a busy teenager and we've only met him once. They live over by our old house in Wheat Ridge, and pasture their horses near our new house in Golden.  Gena does home health care, actually has clients/residents in her home, and provides care and support for them 24 hours a day.  She's raised her kiddos on her own.  And they are amazing.  They are so friendly, outgoing, and seem so happy to be teaching us all about horses.

Gena has been doing horse therapy for the disabled as an extension of her health care background.  Right now she's hoping to expand into horseback riding lessons for clients of all types, including your run of the mill typical kiddo.  I found her ad on Craigslist and gave her a call, and that is how we started out this little adventure.

However, I know this is just a stepping stone to get her and her family to their dream.  Their dream is 50 or 60 acres in Eastern Colorado- a dude ranch, horse therapy, home health and lessons of all kinds.  Gena tells me they're two years away from it, and I know she's right.

So here is a mom, working SO hard for her family, building a dream and making it happen.  It's exciting.  I will rejoice one day when they close on their property and prepare for their grand opening!  I want to do anything I can to help them get there.  Gena has told me that she wants Roo to be able to ride, and has made it super affordable for us.  I know she's not going to make money from us, and money is what helps a business get off the ground.  But I hope we can help in other ways.  And I think I can.  They are building a website, planning on their facebook launch, and organizing an open house for the end of August.  Guess who has a camera, editing and layout abilities, and possibly some logo design input??!!  That might be me!  If I could spend some time helping with all of those things, I think it could be super helpful.  As long as I do it well.  I think this could work out!!

Another thing.  We have not had Rooney's 5th birthday party yet because I'm just super-mom, so I had been thinking of having a half-birthday party instead.  Which puts us at the new school year, basically.  How fun would an "Off to School!!" party be, for my little Kindergartener and all of her little amigos also heading off to their first school year?!  Tulah totally wants an Off to School! party, and now my wheels are turning about one themed around horses.  I had a lot of friends asking about Roo's lesson once I posted some pictures on facebook... Seems completely appropriate to have the party at the little arena by our house.  There is a playground there, pavilions and tables... And three awesome teachers probably very eager to show off their 4 horses to 20 kiddos.  I think it would be incredible exposure to their new business offshoot, and the money from the party would hopefully buy them a saddle or helmets or something along those lines.  I asked Gena about it yesterday and she was alllllll about it.  I am so excited!  Time to start planning!

I've gotten to ride the horses too, a couple of times since our first day with them.  I can't help but go nuts inside when Gena talks about me being her riding partner once Roo is in school, heading up the trails in our Golden foothills!!  I love being around the horses, it is pretty daggone addicting to this wannabe-homesteader-mom. I love how excited my sweet girl gets with them, they just light up her already brilliant self.  I figure the more I know about them, the more comfortable we all will be, and hopefully will be able to take on more responsibility with them.  Maybe in a hundred years or so we'll have one of our own.

In closing, more photos for you from our few times riding this past week:




She gets up in that there saddle by herself!  That's a sizeable climb.