Thursday, October 15, 2009

Has it really been amost 2 weeks?

Goodness, I had not realized that I had been so remiss in posting. I swore it was just a couple of days ago... really... Just shows how fast time is flying, I guess.

The first weekend in October, Bree and I took a roadtrip to Gordyville, IL (think Rantoul), it is about 2.5 hours from us. Gordyville is a horse arena/show barn place. Bree has shown there before when they hosted a big Appaloosa show each spring. The IL State NBHA show was being held there.

We knew 2 people who were running in it and this is the Association that Bree will be running in next year, so we thought it would be good for her to watch.

It was a big show (for what we're accustomed to)- 270 open participants and 50ish youth. There is one girl, Ashley, who was finishing up her youth career and is (and I'm not sure of the actual stats) the No 1 youth in the country that just blew everyone away. She ran a 13.7 SECOND pattern. No one in either the open or youth was within a half second of her. It was just amazing.

The other good part of going was we got to hook up with Miss Paige, Miss JoD and we met Miss Lori and her BF, Darren - who was participating - It was so nice to catch up with everyone and kick back, laugh, talk and just relax!

Lori had brought some wine that she had been talking about with a 'chicken' on the label, so we all had to try it to see if it was 'all that'. I'm not a drinker, as most of you reading this know, and it was ok. But, we had to prove we drank 'chicken wine' - so here's the photo that Bree took with Paige's camera!

On other news, of course, I've been knitting and spinning. I have finished another Christmas present, have 2 more on needles and spun some lucious deep blue/purple varigated Baby Alpaca and Merino. It was 7.6 oz (from The Fold) and it is so rich of a color! As usual, I have no plans for it, I just like to spin!

The weather has just not cooperated for doing much. Bill and Bree put up the Halloween decorations this past Sunday. If we ever get a day without rain or dreary, I will take a photo. I joked that they probably should have put up the Christmas decorations considering this weather!

Big event this coming weekend... A landmark... More on that later!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It is still September, right?

I swore when I looked at the calendar that it was still September! You wouldn't perhaps guess it from our weather.

This feels like a chilly, windy, dreary, late November day. It got down to 45 degrees last night. Yesterday, by lunchtime, my nose was running (while in the house) and the tips of my fingers were cold enough that it made spinning difficult. (Spinning was the PERFECT thing to do on a cold dreary day) - Playing with the fiber made me warm and fuzzy inside! The thermostat said 66.

Now, these days, I am ALWAYS warm. I think it is the stage in my life where instead of wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants in the house in the summer while the air conditioning is on, I am in shorts and a tshirt and STILL warm - this was the first summer that I don't think I even pulled them out of the closet. I was surprised that I was cold yesterday. Maybe, it was the dampness getting to me - as we had a roaring storm go thru Sunday night. So, I broke down and warmed the house up to 70 (so I could spin, of course) then turned it back down.

So, I have been spinning! I finished Joy's fiber - I think it turned out so pretty! I will see her Wednesday to give it to her. It is a bit more 'green' that shows in this picture (I have noticed that my camera does not photograph dark greens well - wonder why that is)

And a closeup:

I am now working on some absolutely lucious, as in, want to roll around in, fiber - it is a blend of Alpaca and silk - It is so soft and airy. I am spinning it to be more of a dk / sport weight than a worsted weight so I can make a more lacey decorative scarf. I 'may' have a pattern in mind - but, not 100% sure on it yet. I purchased 3 ounces of each color and am going to ply one strand of each color together - should give me a nice, heathered type look (I hope) - Here's a pic of the fiber before spinning: I have the cream already spun and am a tad past half way thru the brown. It would be so nice to finish this today! (As I look around the house thinking what can I put off - cleaning wise - in order to finish spinning this up - LOL).

I have multiple knitting projects going which I don't normally do and don't like as it preys on my mind that I should be working on 'x' and not 'y' - but, in all fairness, I had to order a skein of yarn to finish the one - could not find the color locally. And, I need an opinion from the knitters in our group on how to finish another (which I'll hopefully get tomorrow night) - and then of course, I have a sock going - (I am allowed 2 per month - and this is my 2nd for September :) ) And a bigger, ongoing, Christmas present project that I am just working on steadily as it will take me a bit to complete - but I am 30% complete on it - so am actually happy with that.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another successful Sunday!

After waiting all day on Friday for Bree's new saddle to arrive (see post below) - it must be the 'right' one because Bree had a great show on Sunday!

Infact, it was awesome! Tess and Bree had the fastest time on the day (youth, jr's, sr's, and in the open) - they cracked one out like we've never seen before.

Just as a reference: Last show, Bree's best time on poles was 24.43. Her first run on poles in this show was a 22.72 - nearly 1.8 seconds better which is unique that you cut off that much time - It was a beautiful sight to watch - trust me!

The next fastest time was 22.84 (by an adult) - She was on cloud nine realizing that they can do it, they did it and that all the training and practice is paying off. There's nothing like success to drive motivation on wanting more!

Her 2nd run wasn't quite as good but still better than last show at a 24.00.

Then the weather set in and we loaded the horses into the trainer and waited out the rain. We thought we were in the clear and got in one barrel run before the skies let loose and after getting everything picked up, loaded up, we were soaked down to our skin. Talk about feeling like a drowned rat!

Her barrel run was 'ok' - she was talking about how she always thought poles was her 'weakest' event, but it is actually turning out to be the barrels. They have some things to work on - we are picking up on what's slowing them down. She had a respectable run at 21.86 and placed 4th.

So, eventhough she only ran in 3 classes - she had 2 firsts and a 4th - still making it a successful day! She made more than her entry fees and pocketed the difference - She likes that too!

Now, we kind of go back to the drawing board and start focusing on those few things to fix on her barrels. Tess and Bree are really clicking together so hopefully there will be more good results in the future!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bree's New Saddle...

After 4 years of riding in her Lime Green Ostrich Seat Billy Cook, both Bree and Tess have outgrown it. Bree was 8 and Tess was 5. It started to pinch Tess at the shoulder blades causing 'dry' spots underneath the saddle pad.

For those non-horsey, you put a saddle pad underneath the saddle, then the saddle. When you take the tack off, the sweat marks under should basically be the outline of the saddle pad. Well, with Tess filling out and her body type changing (going from 5 to 8) and Bree's body changing, this summer when we would take off the saddle pad there were circles about the size of dishplates that were dry near where her shoulder blades meet her spine. The dry spots are caused by pinching or too much pressure in those areas to the point where that area cannot even 'sweat'.

Plus, you could see when Bree would run to a barrel that Tess would start pulling up before the barrel because the shift in weight to turn the barrel would put even more pressure on those particular spots - think if you were running and had 30 pounds of pressure pulling your shoulder blades back and then stopping suddenly - the force of the stop would throw even more pressure on your shoulder blades.

Once we realized this, we ordered Bree a new Original Bob Marshall treeless saddle like our trainer uses and several folks from the barn have ordered too! It is lighter, doesn't have a 'hard' (think a wood form that sits on the back of the horse and does not conform to the back of the horse) and it is kind of like a formed leather seat. It's about as close to riding bareback that a saddle can provide. The rider can feel the horse more (since there isn't a hard board - so to speak - between rider and horse) and the horse can feel the rider better - shifts in weight, etc..

The saddles are custom made to your specs and you can pick the type of leather tooling, conchos, style of horn, seat type and color, etc...

Well, Bree selected a chocolate colored seat, with a basketweave and barbwire border with Texas star conchos. It's pretty sweet looking. She also is getting a matching breast collar (which didn't arrive with the saddle - and I will have to call on that on Monday) -

We waited ALL day Friday for UPS to deliver - they give you a time window - uh-huh- between 8am and 7pm... Of course, it couldn't have arrived before noon so we could go out to the barn to try it out since she was was off school yesterday. No, couldn't arrive by 3pm. It finally showed up at 5:25 last night. Too late to head out to the barn. And we HAD to wait for it since it required a signature and she wanted it for the show on Sunday and since they do not deliver on Saturday - we had no choice but to wait...

Here's the pictures of the new saddle:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Annual TN visit and boating

Every year since 2003 (at least that's as far back as I have the pictures) - Bree goes to TN for a week with my folks and they do all sorts of things together - from crafts to shopping to site seeing

I go down to pick her up the following week and on the way home, we visit with my Brother and family and have our annual outing in his boat on Lake Egypt. It is a powerplant lake thus the water is in the 80's making it nearly feel as nice as bath water!

Here's the progression of the boat trip thru the years:

2003 - we had to convince her to go in the water by herself at first - then she was off like a fish:

Then in 2005 - she was jumping off the boat and you'd think she had done this everyday of her life! Picking on Uncle Richard was a favorite this year!

In 2007 - even more fun! And even got to drive by herself! And naturally, there was swimming!

2008 - more driving, more adventurous in the water and jumping off the boat! Definitely air time!

This year was more of the same!

It is so amazing viewing the progression of these pictures! We grew up in Antioch in Channel Lake and you would have been hard pressed to not find us in the water everyday during the summer - swimming with friends, boating, and basically just being a kid. Seeing these pics reminds me even more of my childhood! I wish she could do this more often with my Brother's family as both Bree and my neice, are only children and it would sure be nice for them to grow up more together and create memories that will carry them as family throughout their lives.

While in TN last year, Poppa (my Dad) graduated Bree to driving the four wheeler on her own - but she had to stay in the yard! (Previously, she would ride in the box attached on the back of the 4 wheeler seen in this pic) This year, he gave her more area to ride in, including the woods. So, when I arrived, she was so excited to be able to drive me around! Well, in the back woods there is a deep ravine, we stopped to admire the wildlife (deer, etc) and she walked to the edge of the ravine to see how deep it really was - and we both heard something - we could not for the life of us, figure out what it was. Then we heard it again - like a bleating noise. Now, there are NO sheep in the area - Shame - cause I'd love the fiber - Miss eagle eyes, Bree, spotted a baby goat down in the ravine. Again, we had NO idea how it got there - but it was early evening, getting dark - and there are lots of coyotes out in those woods. So, we hightailed it back to the house, she got Poppa and they headed out to see what they could do. Mom started calling the neighbors. Turns out a neighbor had gotten a baby goat and it had escaped and ended up in the woods - they had been looking for it all afternoon.

They came on their 4 wheeler and when they went back there - they couldn't find it - and it was dark. So, Bree was kind of sad as we were thinking it wouldn't make it thru the night. Imagine our surprise when we were pulling out the next day around lunchtime to see it tied up to the neighbor's porch again! She is the queen of the 4 wheeler!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is it real or is it memorex???

As I've blogged about before, Bree is an avid Indianapolis Colts fan. She is also an avid fan of anyone who beats the Bears. Bree and Mom have ongoing bets and the like over their favorite teams.

So, Bree got a big surprise this summer....

She got to meet Peyton Manning:

Ok, So that was the 'memorex' version - Last year there was a Gatorade display with this full size cardboard Peyton Manning - with his brother, Eli on the reverse side. When the promotion was over, Bill asked the store owner if he could have the life size display - and brought it home for Bree. She has it in her room and brings it downstairs for the games. When they're doing well, Peyton is facing out, when they're not, Eli is in his brother's (on the tv) face!

But, here is the real deal:

Over the summer some sports group had tons of big time athletes come and set up times for autographs and Bill surprised her with tickets to get to meet Peyton. I have NEVER, EVER, EVER seen my child speechless. She was in awe to the tune of speechless. She could hardly get out Thank You and answer his questions to which she replied, "Thank You" - it was so cute! She has a signed autograph picture, she has a numbered trading card and these photos that she will cherish forever!

I think that made her summer all by itself!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Following footsteps...

There are certain things I notice about Bree that makes me laugh and think "I used to do that.... insert "x" millions of years ago"...

Sometimes it can be a litte thing - like a face or a hand movement. My Brother calls her "Lorna Junior" - which makes me laugh, because I don't think she looks a thing like me - but, I'll give on the personality. (It INFURIATES her when he calls her that by the way, then he just does it more and more because he knows that)

When she decided to try band in 5th grade, I did not influence what instrument she might be interested in. I was forced, at first, to play an instrument I hated. My Brother tried the cornet, my folks had bought one, so there you go - that's what I was donned to play. Nope. Hated it. And after sneaking practicing my friend's French Horn (thanks Jill H), my band teacher heard (Mr Wagner) and said I should switch - boy I was a happy camper.

In school these days, they let the kids try the various instruments (and they even have string instruments for the Orchestra too) - Bree like the sound and actually felt comfortable with the Fr Horn. Now, she knew that was my instrument and I kind of tried to talk her out of it just to be sure that is what she really wanted - and not because I played it.

Well, 5th grade she did very well with it - the gal (Kelsy) who does her lessons is fantastic and says Bree is doing very well. In 6th grade, they have band everyday (compared to only once per week in 5th) - and also there is a separate 'higher' band called Wind Ensemble (this is like a symphonic band vs a concert band) - you must audition for it. Well, Kelsy has been working with Bree over the summer on the audition pieces (keep in mind that is once per week and it was summer - so you fill in how much she really practiced).

School sent home the notice for Wind Ensemble and Bill and I encouraged Bree to try out for it - for the life experience and for practice playing 'alone' and infront of a stranger, and we figured she wouldn't get in as not many 6th graders make it. Also, because come February they also have the band solo and ensemble competitions. Well, she was scared to death, but went to the one practice and then last Tuesday was her audition.

Late Friday, we received an email from the 8th grade band director who directs the wind ensemble that she MADE it... She was SO excited and we were like, "Holy cow". She went from not really wanting to do it to looking so forward to it overnight.

They start separate practices this week and will practice 2 times per week. When we were in Jr High - we did things AFTER school as far as activities go - apparently things have changed, as these practices are BEFORE school. She will practice from 6:45am to 7:45am... They have to be there at 6:30am and be ready to go at 6:45am. I'm not sure that I even want to get up at 5:45am to get her up and ready and drive her to be there by 6;45am... When did they change activities to be BEFORE school? I am certainly getting old. The down side is that this will make for an awfully long day for her. But, that's part of the life experience!

This is a picture from last year, we just upgraded her horn to a double - as in 5th grade they don't need a double but, in 6th they recommend it. I'll have to get a new pic of it - it is SO SO SO purdy - makes me jealous!

I sure she'll enjoy Wind Ensemble, we are proud of her. Makes me think of the friends I madein band, the fun things we did together and how many of them I've reconnected with on facebook that still make me smile!