Sun and adventures to come

Three awesome lads

Thanks to the later sunset, I was able to fit in a quick, two mile hike after I picked the kid up from school. My second best hope has been realized and Flash is loading now with zero fuss (he’s not yet self loading but maybe someday). I’m hoping he actually likes going hiking (or, as I’m sure he calls it, “sampling the wilderness”.)

Must eat every five strides

If it’s not cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, I’ve signed up for a Mountain Trail Schooling Course at Bolender Horse Park this weekend. I’ll be doing Novice, Level 1 and Level 2 in hand if Flash agrees with that. For all it’ll be our first event like this together, I’m hoping we’ll do okay…at least not embarress each other! The hardest move for Flash is a side pass; I just don’t have my signals down for nice, smooth ones so we’ll try to eek through that.

Kade is a great videographer in training!

Wish us luck and hope we don’t freeze up in the hills Saturday night! At least Flash will have a nice cozy stall on site.

After school fun

A new exercise

Today when I arrived at the barn, someone had left a grid of poles laid out that I was immediately excited to try. Due to various reasons (being pregnant, super busy at work, and the occasional winter doldrums) I haven’t been riding Flash consistently. I brought him home in August and before that he was pretty much a trail horse, but under that cookie seeking exterior is a well trained horse.

We’re back to basics while we’re stuck in the arena, mostly while we really learn each other and build fitness (I won’t really get to keep it but hopefully he will!) Since part of my “be safer while pregnant” agreement is nixing trail rides, the arena is what I get so I’m trying to make the most of it. I’m also half contemplating previously unfathomable ideas like a low key local w/t/maybe canter schooling show. Me, show???? I haven’t bothered to do that since Pony Club!

Blondie thought he was done when I dismounted…🤣

So here’s our attempt at this serpentine grid, and side passing down a pole, serenaded by frogs, coyotes and restless children 🤣

Joy

I write this with joy in my heart. A tired joy, comfortable and welcome. I set everything aside yesterday and played hooky from work (using up leave time) to spend the day sans phone and any responsibilities with my son.

I can get too caught up in my goals, keeping the house clean, walking the dog, paying bills and all the rest of it and forget to enjoy the whip smart, silly kid I’m raising. I know a good chunk of the rest of the world can’t just turn things off for a day, but I can only live my life.

We spent the day in our swim gear at the Winds N Waves Waterpark, and it was quite simply one of our best days in a long stretch, and badly needed. We swam in the vortex pool, flew yelling down the water slides and relaxed in the crowded hot tub. Never once did I have to raise my voice or an eyebrow; we just hung out and enjoyed each other, only giggles, no cross words or chores.

On the drive home we were both quiet, sipping our Dutch Bros drinks and trying not to fall asleep. I was happy, and so was Kade. I was happy, without reservation or worry or anxiety.

I hadn’t realized how big the weight I’d been carrying as a result of my job in the psychiatric hospital has been. Now that I’m leaving, I can finally take a deep breath. Not only have I turned in my two weeks notice, but the job I’m going to is a complete 180 from the hospital. I’m supporting my old boss and doing the work I’m discovering I’m best at, logistics and organizing and making things smooth and straight forward. It’s a relief to be working for someone who thinks I kick ass, instead of those who hate the change I bring.

Joy is also tasty homemade food with best friends, hitting up the nickel arcade and super tasty ice cream to announce and celebrate our upcoming elopement.

Life is rainy but good!

Wiggle butts

If you hate being spammed by lots of happy dog and kid photos, or wish to ignore my search for the perfect dog, or point out that there are more important things to be focusing on these days….that last may be true, but today all I can focus on is trying to make life a little better for my own corner of the world, and raising my son to be a helper.

A few years ago, I had the joy of being able to foster several boxers until they were adopted, and when Tom and I moved into together we made the agreement to wait to adopt a dog until we a.) Had a house with a yard and B.) Were fairly job solvent (as much as can be in this crazy world).

Help me bring this scene back to my world!

We’ve been renting our current house for a year, just signed a lease for another and gained landlord approval, and I was finally able to work my way up to a permanent job with the State! I’ve been on several careful shopping sprees to father supplies, lectured the kid on the rules and responsibilities of the dog (and planned matching kid and dog Halloween costumes, what else but Pokemon?). The only thing we lack….Is a dog!

So, internet, Facebook friends, and other awesome peoples, please help us keep a look out for our perfect dog! Since we both work full time, have a giant white cat, and this will mostly be a kid companion, we are looking for an adult house trained dog, preferably a boxer as I can’t resist a wiggle butt! We do have applications into several local rescues, but this is spreading the net even wider.

Thank you all, and go snorgle your fuzzies or wiggly kids or teddy bears!

Escape the smoke

After the topsy turvey summer we’ve had, neither of us could face a crazy holiday weekend of travel, even for horse training. So I skipped a farm visit, and today my little family of three (minus His Royal Fuzzy Whiteness Wilson) mosied over them that hills to the beach.

This lazy day of wandering was exactly what we all needed, quiet time together and an escape from the awful heat and wildfire smoke filling the Willamette valley again today.

We hit Lincoln City, which was reliably packed, enjoyed a nice lunch at McMenamin’s, and found perfect high winds and few people (although still enough kids for Kade to play with) at Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City.

Tom had a blast flying his high tech kites in the wind, busting a steady 15-23mph, and being that special kind of puzzled only engineers get when he couldn’t figure out why I kept crashing the kite. (Hint: you work the kite lines the exact opposite way from reins, which I’ve spent the better part of my life learning and teaching!)

The large pack of kids digging energetically in the sand taught Kade how to find shrimp; we took turns burying each other in the sand; hit pause for a snuggle break to warm up my zero body fat kid; wrote a little of the stress into my journal; and relaxed, watching Kade play, Tom fly kites, on a beautiful sunny windy smoke free beach. I managed (barely) not to cry, out of gratefulness that we live where we can safely steal a day like this, peaceful and together and happy, far from the stresses and strains and sadness of the world for awhile.

This is Halloween…


Welp, it’s November people, and that means NaNoWriMo is upon us. If you think I don’t blog much normally, November can be…empty. But it’s a good place to ‘report’ on my goals (my blog! me!) so here goes, as I sit on a really squeeky morning train: 

  • Only ran once last week out of the three I was aiming for, trudging around the little dirt track at Kade’s school while he found every puddle he can. Right now I’m at a slightly hard fought 16 minute mile. Ha!
  • My novel for the month is a slightly different version of what I’ve been working on, about ex-military vets and their lives and animals and relationships, despite not being ex-military myself I want to train dogs someday so it’s a good chance to do some deep research into the topic and stretch out of my mommy-work-mommy zone.

  • New job is still going awesome, in the thick of billing and reporting and being part of the ‘Party Planning Committee.’ Also the boss gave me permission to work from home when Kade has a day off, so whew! Since he has 8 days off in November….
  • Halloween was epic! Kade got to trick or treat twice, once with his cousins while Tom and I drove home and once with us just around our awesome neighborhood. Kid’s loaded with candy so now I get to play candy monster and dole it out in no rational or consistant fashion. Life lessons kid.
  • Tom’s home for good for awhile, so I’ve forgotten how to cook again but I don’t sleep alone so that evens out pretty well.
  • Happy writing all!

A Good Evening

poke

Last night was…good, in a simple, reassuring kind of way. I managed to get home in a mostly timely fashion (minus an inconveniently placed car fire), picked up a child who was, literally, covered in something blue (still couldn’t get an intelligible answer on what it was), made & ate dinner while Facetiming with Tom. He’s still working in California, now with the added bonus of kidney stones & the drugs to manage them, or more like the pain along with them.

 We spoke of nothing huge or earthshaking, a few details of our lives, getting the new fiber optic internet hooked up, leaving my current job, wanting him home, kite flying, plus he convinced me that while my heart was in the right place, but maybe offering my friend the Emerald Queen for a road trip to Wisconsin wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. We didn’t fight, or snap, but there was some friendly eye rolling & a lot of worry on my end at least, knowing your partner is dealing with a health issue while stuck in an extended stay hotel far from home is not exactly ideal. I still haven’t unpacked anything in the great room beyond my laptop & clearing off the couch, although Kade’s room, the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen & our bedroom are pretty dialed in.

I drank wine, lingered over the sun set from our new porch, watched the neighbors stroll by with babies & dogs & packs of middle schoolers roaming while Kade ate & climbed over the railing fighting bad guys & through the minor miracle of technology Tom was almost there with us. I relaxed fully for the first time since I first called our new landlord weeks ago, & not just due to the nice Oregon Pinot Noir.

We’ve eaten exclusively on that porch since we got the keys, due to lack of room in the house (see boxes) & it being early fall in Oregon is the best time for porch sitting, so why rush inside? The porch has a fairly sturdy roof over it thanks to the landlord, so I have thoughts about getting a nice heater & maybe some mosquito mesh to extend our eating outside time until the full, bitter chill & wet of our glorious Dark Months descend upon us. Something about eating outside connects me to those boisterous meals in college, exhausted ones on trail crews, exciting ones scattered all over the backcountry camping out.

I went to sleep comfortable and happy…although with only the cat for company!

cat

The Big K

Today was Kade’s first day of kindergarten. So naturally we woke up late, in an apartment stuffed to the brim with 90% of our stuff in boxes, no ‘perfect’ outfit picked out or picture worthy lunch packed, nor had Tom or I adequately communicated to each other what the morning would look like. My emotions were scattered all over the place, between the stress of Kade’s first day, moving, my job, having Tom home for the first time in a month…Tom was merely tired & in need of a good cup of coffee, but I’d packed the sugar away already, girlfriend mistake #1 for the day.

crazyfacewalk

Our two block walk from our new house to Kade’s school, Eccles Elementary (where one of the teachers remembers teaching the various Morse children back in the day) was accomplished right on time by some miracle of pre-packaged food & excitement (Costco is my BFF). Kade’s backpack is almost as big as he is, even though it’s the smallest I could find. Our conversation on the drive down informed me he misses his best friend Max, but that he’s a friendly little dude who will be fine with a bit of support through this huge upheaval in his normally mostly predictable life.

notamused

I did grab a few pictures, in which he refused to smile cause dude, this is all weird & strange & not normal. Not five minutes later, he marched right into his classroom, put his things away, & announced to his teacher Mrs. Merris, “I know how to write my name by myself!” which is what he spent his time doing until Tom could tear me away.

writing

We walked back to the new house alone, mental gears switching from parent to adult, to sign the rental lease & give Tom a chance to meet the landlord & actually see the place his sister had luckily noticed for us a few weeks ago. It’s not perfect-it’s old, barely bigger than our apartment, the stove is also weird & old, & the landlord is naturally leery of my hope for a dog, but it’s workable, & Tom’s finally home, back in the town he grew up in. We’re two blocks from his sister & Kade’s cousins (whose classrooms are on either side of Kade’s), across town from his parents & grandparents, two blocks from school, with a huge yard to play in, plant raised beds, hang a hammock in the trees.

Tom sees the practical; we need yard maintenance equipment, to fit all our things in the house, when can we pick up the U-Haul, where’s Wilson’s cat perch going to live, & getting all the utilities switched over before he leaves again, returning to California as that’s where his employer has work for him right now.

I can see, as near as possible for us, what I’ve always hoped for Kade, surrounded by family in a small town, a certain kind of stability I didn’t have until much later, a chance to grow roots & know our neighbors names-what Tom himself grew up with. I hate that choices & circumstances make this Kade’s sixth move in five years, but hopefully the last for quite a while!

Now I’m in professional adult mode, considering my first of many commutes without my chatty little dude along to balance out the frustrations over getting cut off in traffic once again, & impatient to hear how the day went for the kid I managed to raise up healthy & safe this far.

 walktogether

Just take a breath

I have so many things to write about, from my trip to see Odysseo, camping with friends, and *gasp* firearms, but this is what made it out through a crazy week that ain’t over yet….
So I’ve been sharing a bunch of happy pictures on Instagram lately, full of good food (baked eggs, steak, grilled chicken, campfire sausages) & enjoyable events (camping, Crater Lake, road trips, friends, Tom home).
Yesterday was a bit trickier. And by trickier I mean flat out exhausting.
Tom’s alarm went off at 3 freakin’ am, for his flight back to San Jose leaving at 6am. I always try to go back to sleep but this one is hard, as he’ll be gone for three weeks this time.
I eventually got me & the kid up & going, to drop him off with a friend to be taken to school so I could high tail it to Salem for an appointment. I made it into work just after 11am & worked my six hours, clocking off after 5 when traffic is at it’s most vicious. I picked up my kid who looked as tired as I did, fighting traffic all the way to the grocery store only to find they were out of the one thing I actually needed-Bailey’s coffee creamer. By now it’s pushing 630 & I’ve been loaded up on coffee & Goldfish all day, so instead of the ‘cooking’ I was planning to do (chicken salad sandwiches) we swung by those big Golden Arches & loaded up on processed meat & salt for dinner.
This, of course, mildly overjoyed my offspring, but my fogged up brain considered how unsnobbed I’ve become. Just over five years ago, my son was born at my ex-MIL’s organic farm in Vermont, where we tried to eat as local & low impact as possible. Before that I’d spent four years at the hippiest college around, again eating as local as possible, including what the school farm grew. We still ate fast food, but it was few & far between, considering the effort necessary to drive nearly half an hour over backcountry roads to the nearest one, which I didn’t even like.
Now I’m shoving McDonalds in my face at 8pm on a Tuesday night, a meal so quickly cleaned up & yet will live in my thighs for weeks. I’m sure there’s more of a lesson there, but the one I take from it is I have to plan my meals better, both to avoid the McD in the future, & save the money as well. But sometimes, you just don’t have the extra umph to deal with it all, & that’s okay too.
dinner

To climb a…saddle?

mthoodpeeking

My son continues to impress me each & every day, but last Monday was even more so as I saw him through other people’s eyes. I didn’t want to deal with the crowds camping over the holiday weekend, but I had an itch for a view. So I settled for a hike, but in my way of scattershot planning, picked one that was harder than I expected. The world’s longest suffering boyfriend headed back to the car after 2 miles of upward, slightly buggy heat, but the kiddo stuck with me even when we gave him every out possible.

kidsnacksaddle

And boy, did that kid kick ass. We headed up to the saddle near the summit of Mount Hamilton (we didn’t head to the summit as Kade is only 5, & that’s a steep cliff to sidle along). This is on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, which took us 9 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain & loss in less than five hours. Being in the brilliantly green, growing woods we can focus inwards and outwards at once, covering such topics as finding the best stick, what airplane is flying above (Tom would know), why Mommy goes to her boring job everyday, & the somewhat incomprehensible to anyone over the age of 8 games he plays at school with his friends. Kade earned his giant bowl of chocolate ice cream with whip cream & a cherry on top a million times over (we started naming what we wanted when we reached the car on the way down; ice cream, always ice cream).

So far this season we’ve done four major hikes together, but this one we didn’t start until later in the day & was by far the hardest I’ve ever asked him to do. Kade only faltered at the end, when the ice cream the boyfriend had grabbed for us in Stevenson had melted because it took us so long to get down (this was solved by a quick stop at the thank you a zillion times for being open on a Federal holiday Baskin Robbins!) I only carried him for about 50 feet, & he hiked the rest with me, hauling his little Deuter pack of snacks & a change of shoes. While we were on the saddle, taking pictures & stuffing said snacks down our gullets, a few very nice gentlemen offered to take one of my current favorite pictures of the both of us. They kept mentioning how big a deal it was that this little kid made it all the way up here, all by himself (well, with some hand holding & much encouragement from the mommy lady).

I’ve been hiking ever since my parents first kicked me out for a summer at a camp in California when I was ten (or was it eleven?), & hated it for a good long while. Oh, I loved the arriving somewhere, but the whole hauling things upwards I didn’t cherish (this is why we have draft animals people!) It’s only since Kade came along that I’ve learned to love it, even when I don’t stop to think how big a deal it is to other people to see a little kid hiking like he does.

prettydown

We get so distracted in our daily lives trying to juggle the day job, the hobbies, the household, the cruddy adulting stuff that I push the hiking & camping as a way to focus just on this golden kid. He’s growing up & forming & becoming himself right before my eyes. He wrote his full name for the first time without help last week!

sleepykiddo

Choosing a trip to do, pouring over the maps, loading up & heading out gets us just that, out where we can both loosen up & just enjoy being together. At this point it seems likely I’m only going to do this kid thing once, & while I make plenty of questionable decisions & struggle to pay enough attention, getting outdoors with Kade is my way of being the best parent to the best kid, if only for a weekend & the price of a campsite & a tank of gas.

wemadeit

I keep wondering what he’ll remember, what the highlights of his childhood will be when he’s my age & older, & I know it won’t be the busy afternoons holed up inside with Legos or the iPad while we clean house. My great hope is that it’ll be those trips to the endless waterfalls, writing his name on the beach, seeing all the creepy crawlies & fliers the woods can hold, or conquering a freaking mountain with his own legs.

saddlewin