Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Code of Conduct

Homeschooling: Kary L. Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, called
some discipline policies "draconian," and said they create a
"school-to-prison pipeline," according to The News.
The Detroit News, "ACLU report shows disparity in school
discipline," June 25, 2009

The quote above is referring to public school Code of Conduct policies. In some ways I have to agree that they are "draconian" but the sad reality is that children are arriving at school unprepared to follow those "rules". And why should they be prepared? And why should they care? The school my kids attended had them sign a code of conduct policy every fall. My son would happily sit down with me, read through every rule, sign the form that said he had read everything and understood it, and then proceed to break just about every rule - especially the one about fighting. There was one important rule missing - one about not teasing little boys with short fuses. And interestingly enough, it was most needed by the kids that were pretty good about following the rest of those written rules.

When Motocross Boy was in public school he rotated between avoiding doing anything that involved learning, whomping on kids who teased him, hiding from administrators who couldn't run as fast as him, and sitting in the office waiting for us to arrive from wherever we happened to be working when school called. Lots of productive time spent in that building - that's for sure! And I'm sure he sounds like a holy terror too and probably was for some of those teachers who just didn't "get" him at all - and there were a few that did.

Being forced into a pigeon hole was just not his cup of tea. Being able to learn at his own pace (however crazy it drives me sometimes) and function in real world social situations instead of stuck in a group of same age kids (same age, not same maturity level) has suited him quite well. He hasn't had a single aggressive situation since he left school. His sister is the only one who teases him and knows when to back off. He is learning and keeping pace.

But best of all - we only have a moral code of conduct in our school.

Horses: We gave Stanley the day off yesterday to hang out with his friends and just "be a horse". I miss the bugger. We were hoping to get over there today...and instead gave him another day off. He's going to have an easy week since we have motocross this weekend!

Motocross: Motocross Boy cleaned his room today!! I guess he is serious about racing at MPX Sebewaing this weekend. Or not.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday's Swan Song

The good news: Equestrian Girl got Reserve High Point at her horse show today. The bad news: Motocross Boy took a series of "last" places in his races on Saturday and Sunday.

The good news: I'm so tired I can't see straight. The bad news: I can't see straight.

Horses: The trailering thing went fine - got in the barn driveway far enough that I wasn't hanging into the road and that was good enough. I'll work more on the backing up straight later! Stanley, on the other hand, was less than impressed and didn't want to load. We were running out of tricks when my little bag of fruit snacks did the trick. Or maybe he just knew we weren't giving up so he did. We got to the show late but didn't miss any classes and Equestrian Girl got 4 firsts right out of the gate! The weather held out so we had no rain, bright sunny skies, and wind - lots of wind. Normally I'd complain but it was also pretty warm so the wind felt good and kept the trailer cool too.

Motocross: The boys had a rough night Friday night - some dufus kept his generator running all night with the exhaust pointed right at their trailer. I probably could have slept through it! Saturday night Motocross Boy slept over with a couple of buddies - 3 like hot dogs in the bed - so Scott had the camper to himself and slept like a baby until the storms hit up there! Rain is so incredibly loud on those camper roofs....

Homeschool: Big surprise for the kiddos on Monday - Mommy got creative and they have a unit study on dinosaurs along with a project on family history. My parents arrived from Florida today so when they see them tomorrow they will have LOTS to talk to them about!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Motocross: The boys headed out to race yesterday afternoon! Motocross Boy practiced last night and will race today. They MIGHT race Sunday depending on the weather. I really wish we had time to make it up there to watch today but its not going to happen. We have way too much to do. I'm crossing my fingers that he does good and nobody gets hurt. That helicopter pad at Baja just puts fear into my blood....

Horses: After practicing backing up the trailer into a "driveway" for about 2 hours yesterday I still had trouble getting it into our OWN driveway. It's in but not straight and not really where I wanted it to be. I actually have a sunburned left arm from hanging out the window to see...but tomorrow morning I'll have to get it into the drive at the barn so we can load Stanley for the horse show! Did I mention the trailer is about 32 feet long? And steel? And a gooseneck?

Today we'll bathe, band and clip and get the boy all pretty after we finish loading the trailer with show clothes, boots, wraps, extra fly spray, etc. The weather is supposed to be a high of 80 with possible thunder storms. No storms please!

Homeschooling: They got all their work done this week!! Yea!!! But that also means I have to do new assignment sheets for Monday and have to get them done today since tomorrow is the show. I seem to be in vacation mode from school too since I'm less than motivated at the moment.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oops Friday

I think I missed a few days. Oops.

Motocross: We are down to just 3 bikes again! A younger rider friend of Motocross Boy came to get one of the 65's with his Dad the other day. We heard he went to practice at the big track last night and was just tearing it up with the new, big bike. These little guys are unbelievable when they get on these bikes where they can't even touch the ground and go out there and race like pros. Scares the crap out of me but they go like there's no tomorrow. The invincibility of youth.

Horses: The new farrier came on Wednesday night to clean up Stanley's feet - my 4th farrier visit in 9 weeks. It was 90 degrees and humid sticky no air moving hot. He spent over 2 hours on him and he looks awesome now!! I gave him an extra $25 for heat hazard pay. And I'm praying he does just as good every time he comes to trim him.

We have a show on Sunday so today we start the "getting ready" routine and make sure the trailer is packed and ready and give Stanley a good work out. Tomorrow is bathing, clipping and banding...

Homeschooling: The United Nations is once again pushing the USA to ratify the Children's Treaty. BAD idea. Susan Rice is the Ambassador to the United Nations for the USA and has casually mentioned that they are strongly considering ratification...yesterday she was so flood with calls they shut down their phone lines. I've written to my senators and the White House expressing my concern. Our senate has a good bill in front of them that would support FAMILY rights and not give children rights over their parents or the right of our government to decide how our children to be raised. This is an issue that will affect more than just homeschoolers - all families will be affected and mostly in a negative way. The countries that have ratified this treaty are already seeing it as governments feel they now have the right to just remove your kids from your home until they decide if you are a good parent or not. I don't think so!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Tribune

Homeschooling: Just read this today:

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University has received a
$5 million grant to train education researchers in economics,
according to a press release from the university and Education
Week magazine.

The doctoral program will focus on methods of studying
longitudinal data to show whether and how school funding, class
size, teachers' educational training and other factors relate to
student performance, the release said.

"There is a need to improve these methods so the educational
community can get better estimates of the associations between
policy variables and student outcomes," Robert Floden, a
professor in the College of Education, said in the release. The
program will bring together faculty with expertise in K-12
education, economics, labor, quantitative measurement and
teacher education.
Michigan State University, "MSU trains scholars to tackle
educational issues - with economics," June 16, 2009

Isn't this interesting? $5 Million bucks to TRAIN researchers to study data about schools. Isn't it bad enough that we never DO anything productive with the information the researchers come up with let alone now we want to teach those researchers to research better? Just think what homeschooler families could do with just a portion of that $5 Million towards educating their kids. Takes me about 5 minutes to figure out when something isn't working for one of mine...no paid researchers needed!! Sure, I'm sure I waste some time giving them curriculum that doesn't work and trying to manipulate it so that it does, but I figure we still spend more time learning than the average public school spends so no need to fret.

I just tried figuring out how many homeschoolers there are in Michigan to see how that would divide into that $5 Million but tee hee....Michigan doesn't track us! Or so they say. I bet they have a pretty darn good idea....If PETA can track the fly that Obama kills, Michigan can track us homeschoolers...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Madness

I was hoping to upload a picture of what I've been working on all weekend...our new family business. Last summer Scott sold his lawn care business after 25 years. It wasn't the greatest time to sell but it worked out okay. Over the next few months he toyed around with various business ideas including selling used cars which didn't last long - figured out pretty fast he's not cut out for that business! So in a round about way he settled on t-shirts. He's one of those guys that tends to get a t-shirt just about anywhere he goes and figures there are lots of other people like that too.

But he wanted to do more than just sell t-shirts, he wants to be able to design them from scratch and offer custom "logo wear" at reasonable prices. The idea is to have a "booth" he can easily set up at horse shows and motocross races where he can both print and press on the spot and take orders for more specialized designs. The past few weeks we've been developing a variety of designs with a focus on the horse theme that can be easily customized and this weekend I really got down to business creating samples for all the girls that ride with our trainer. Equestrian Girl and I will wear our samples to a showmanship clinic on Wednesday and bring the paper copies of the others to show everyone. I can't wait - they look soooo cool!

We've installed Photoshop on both of the kid's computers and Equestrian Girl has shown a lot of talent with graphic design. I found out she's been creating banners for www.howrse.com for months now and even earns "howrse" money selling them and she's done all that just using Picasa and Picnic! I can't wait to see what she can create with Photoshop. This will be a great learning experience for both kids since we plan to involve them in all aspects of the business from the creative to the financial. I'm sure I can find a way to count this as curriculum!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Horses: The video above was taken today. Equestrian Girl on Stanley doing a little cantering practice. This is her first year riding canter...before this it was all walk/trot.

Motocross: The boys came home this morning from the races tired but happy. Motocross Boy is exhausted which I find pretty funny - that kid is NEVER tired!

Homeschooling: No need to do lesson plans this week!! Just reprint last week's stuff and send them off to try it again...

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sweet Saturday

Motocross: Who would have guessed all those years ago that this would be a pose that our son would often assume when it came time for manual labor? LOL! Actually, the boy really does love to dig in the dirt but only when it's for his own purposes, like digging motocross tracks for his toy dirt bikes. Like the one in the next picture.

Horses: My old pal from our first boarding barn bought a new horse and moved him to the barn where we are boarding now! It was so nice to see her and it will be fun to have her around again. Her horse is cute, cute, cut! A small gelding that seems to be a minimally marked Paint - he has a couple of belly spots - but is unregistered. Can't wait to see him under saddle...

Homeschooling: The great thing about being committed to schooling through the summer is that missing a few extra days here and there doesn't really matter all that much...you just push everything that doesn't get done back another week knowing you still have a head start on next year anyway!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fantastic Friday

I love this old picture.  There's no reason for it except that stuff like this makes me smile.  I need to smile...it has been a stressful week.

Homeschooling:  Some weeks are just  not meant for much to be accomplished but we had a lot of non-traditional learning going on just the same.  I had always considered myself to be pretty good about finding usable teaching moments even before we started homeschooling but it's funny how those moments are even more obvious now.  And especially on days when it doesn't seem like much traditional learning happens!!  Dang but if I can't squeeze some math into a stop at the gas station (how many miles per gallon are we getting - and DO NOT hit the little button on the steering wheel that tells us!) or while cooking dinner (I only have a pound of burger and this recipe calls for a pound and a half.  Anyone want to figure out how to use 3/4 of an egg?)

Horses:  Made a quick trip over for Equestrian Girl to ride Stanley and so we could put the thrush meds on his hooves again.  They are starting to look better and I can't wait for the new farrier to come next week.  I'm also hoping that it stop raining so the paddock can dry out again.  That mud just gets PACKED in his feet right now and after it dries in there its a nightmare to get out.

Motocross:  Moto-Dad put a deposit down on an Excursion today - that will be the new moto-trailer hauling rig.  Keep fingers crossed that it's a better used purchase than the "Stupid Dodge" (think Shrek and Stupid Donkey) we have now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Homeschooling:  Our kids are mostly self-taught when it comes to swimming.  Both Scott and I are decent swimmers and both of us had lessons as kids.  We tried to do the lesson thing a long time ago, but it just wasn't working out.  But it doesn't seem to have mattered all that much - both kids love to be in the water and are decent little swimmers.

Horses:  Equestrian Girl had a lesson today in spite of not feeling all that great after getting a couple of immunizations yesterday at her annual physical.  And the arena was HOT even though it was only 74 degrees outside.  We were all sweating big time.  I did take a few short videos and hope to get those posted soon.

Motocross:  Motocross Boy is feeling even worse than Equestrian Girl though he started the morning strong.  Now he's dragging himself to the microwave to get his popcorn out that he says is the ONLY thing he can possibly eat for dinner...uh huh.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday Wishes

I wish my children really looked like this.  No, not really.  That's Equestrian Girl on the right and her friend on the left goofing around on my Mac earlier today.  I love the friend's big eyes!!

Homeschooling:  Around the middle of last fall we started using www.aleks.com for math for Equestrian Girl.  I'd been using Math U See for both kids because it was a good fit for Motocross Boy but Equestrian Girl LOVES math and there was just way too much repetition for her and she was getting bored.  We did a trial with Aleks and she really liked it.  I also liked that they did regular testing and showed me where she was compared to the state standards.  I know lots of homeschoolers want nothing to do with state standards and I respect that.  I have this innate need to know that I'm teaching them enough that IF they had to go back to public school they wouldn't be behind.  (It's about me.)  

About a month ago  Motocross Boy wanted to switch to www.aleks.com.  He had been doing great with Math U See and I was very reluctant to let him switch.  He needs lots of repetition and hands on and I was afraid an online curriculum for math wasn't going to give him enough instruction.  But, so far so good!  The program has an artificial intelligence that doesn't let him move on until he demonstrates that he really does know the material...and with their recent updates I can even spy on him and see how long he works on it each day and how much he actually accomplishes.  Very cool.

Horses:  Equestrian Girl has a lesson tomorrow at 2:30.  I'm trying desperately to remember the video camera...

Motocross:  The boys are outside with some motocross buddies...one is buying Motocross Boy's old 65.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tales

This is Equestrian Girl's Guinea Pig, Maggie.  You have to admit she's pretty darn cute!

Horses:  Stopped at TSC for another $18 bottle of thrush treatment.  I've had about enough of this stuff!  I sure hope this new farrier can do a better job and we can get the boy's tootsies in better shape.  These $120 pedicures every 3-4 weeks are killing me!

Motocross:  The laundry from Motocross Boy's big weekend made it in the house.  But not to the laundry room.  Amazingly small amount...though it is about time to do all the blankets in the camper...

Homeschooling:  The average public school year in Michigan is now 171 days, but some districts operate on 160-day or shorter schedules, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan told the Free Press that students need more learning time in order to compete globally. The state House has approved a new minimum of 170 days; that proposal is now before the Senate.

The Obama administration is backing an even longer school year as part of its school reform platform, the Free Press reported, though University of Michigan education professor Brian Rowan said that studies show the number of days spent in school doesn't predict international differences in achievement.
The Detroit Free Press, "Push is on to add days to Michigan
school year," June 11, 2009

Me again. Instead of requiring more days, why not put more learning into each day?  As I opined earlier, we found that we could easily fit a full day's worth of learning into 2-3 hours at home compared to the 5-6 hours that it took to do the same amount of learning at public school.

Last week Equestrian Girl's public school friend who is also a grade ahead of her looked at what she's doing in math.  She couldn't do any of it.  I'm going to ask the same of another friend tomorrow who went to school with her 1st through 5th grade...should be interesting since they used to be at about the same levels all through those grades.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Moanin' (anyone remember Bob Talbert?)

Motocross:  Since I didn't go to the races this weekend, I had to rely on my husband to take pictures.  He thinks he's a better photographer than me because he always gets ONE great picture like this one.  I take hundreds so there is just no comparison.  In my mind anyway!

Horses:  We got to the barn about 3:30 today and Stanley was in the big pasture.  We though for sure it was going to be an ordeal to catch him out there - especially when his little buddy saw us coming and ran to tell him (I SWEAR that's what he did!!!).  But after a brief walk away the curiosity as to what Equestrian Girl had in her hand got the best of him and he was tacked up to ride before he knew what hit him.

We got good news that an old horsey friend bought a new horse and will be boarding at the same place as us!  She was always one of my favorite riding buddies so it will be fun to have her back around.  She is a great organizer so maybe she'll get some of the ladies there rounded up and doing stuff together more...

Homeschool:  The president's secretary of education, Arne Duncan, is really starting to scare me with all his talk about national education standards and cradle to grave tracking of our kid's education...  Living in Michigan we have some of the least restrictive homeschooling laws of any state so I take that right very seriously.  By that I mean I obsessively track and score my children's learning to make sure they are meeting the Michigan education standards just because I don't have to.  We have been very fortunate to have several elected officials now and in the past that were homeschool friendly and no doubt that was as much as an accident as anything since I doubt we have enough homeschoolers in any one area that would carry enough power to vote in a particular representative.  But with national standards ready to upstage state laws, we could see things change in a big hurry....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stanley got his lope back!

Horses:  Stanley got his lope back!  Yes, he had lost it for a while and he's groovin' once again.  Our trainer, Eliza, had Equestrian Girl doing some very specific exercises with him on Friday that seemed to be really working but you just never know if they'll still work when she isn't there.  They did!  The ol' boy was using his butt and was collected and looked awesome.

A rumination:  Am I the only mom around that will not just drop her kid off for a riding lesson and go find something better to do?  Am I the only one that would never forgive herself if something bad happened and I wasn't on watch?  Is it because I ride too and understand the inherent dangers of riding horses?  Even before Equestrian Girl took her famous backwards flying dismount to fracture her kidney (yes, they break!) and spend 8 days in the hospital, I never left her at the barn to ride or take a lesson without me being there.  I don't understand any parent that could do that.  Also don't get any parent that would let their kid ride without real boots or one that would let them ride without a helmet...  

Motocross:  Motocross Boy reports that he is having a relatively good day.  Middle of the pack, only one crash and not a bad one.  More like a "fall over" when he hit some mud in a turn.  Big storm moving in though with lightening in the distance so they might get called.  Two bad crashes there today - one a kid's helmet came off so it must not have been strapped on and the other was a photographer that got hit by a bike - ugly.  

Homeschooling:  I had the best intentions to do this week's lesson plans on Friday but that darn food poisoning kinda messed that up with my need for frequent naps.  So as usual I'm doing it on Friday night...  I've got a light week planned for the kids though.  I want to head over to Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford for MotorMuster this weekend so I plan to have them both doing a little "car" research.  Later this summer they have big plans for taking the Rouge tour with Grandpa - he used to work there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Horses:  The girl in the picture is one of Equestrian Girl's friends with her 4 year old green broke horse - this was actually taken at his first show this spring.  About 20 seconds after this photo was taken he spooked at a reflection on the announcer's booth and dumped her.  She was fine.  But since that weekend which was followed by a big Paint show the following weekend that was even more disastrous, they've had him back in training and taking him to lots of shows even if they don't show - just to hang out in the environment.  They were at a small 4-H Open show today with quite a few others that we know that work with our trainer so Equestrian Girl and I went to watch for a while.  It was so weird to be at a horse show with all our riding friends and not be showing!  I sort of felt a little lost not having a job to do!  But our friend's young horse was doing well and bringing his girl lots of ribbons.  Her little sis was riding him in walk/trot classes and doing very well too.

Motocross:  Dad and Motocross Boy are on the road!  Rain changed their plans a bit since the place where they had wanted to go is notoriously muddy after just the littlest bit of rain (which we had) so they found some other place to practice today which has gone good.  They'll head up to the track where he's racing tonight to camp over.  

Camping at motocross is a bit different than at horse shows - no electric or water and we've only been to one track that had bathrooms with flush toilets and showers - but they also had a pool!  (I really liked that track for obvious reasons).  So that means if you want to run more than just the lights you need to also run the very noisy generator.  Yes, to make a pot of coffee I need to run the generator!  But motocross races are inherently noisy.  Nobody is up at the crack of dawn like horse shows when the announcer tests the speakers at 6 a.m. blasting you out of your cozy cocoon but come 8 a.m. you start hearing generators kick over, bikes motor up, golf carts running, and the announcer comes on followed by the non-stop rock and roll and head banger music!  

Equestrian Girl and I might head up tomorrow morning but I doubt it.  I'm a bit nervous to drive the Dodge that far after the fiasco at the beginning of the week.  And I'm still not feeling all that wonderful but only needed a 45 minute nap today!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I love my vet!

Horses:  I wish I had taken my camera this morning to get pictures of my vet working on our horse.  He's just so good... We were sort of "vet-less" since February when we left our trainer's barn where she used another vet who was quite a bit less expensive. We had used "this" vet before when we first bought our other horse so we did have a bit of a relationship, albeit fairly old.  So this spring I let our barn owner do spring shots since the vet we had been using wouldn't come this far.  But he didn't do Rabies and I was pretty sure West Nile wasn't done...  So I broke down and called Dr. Esterline at Kern Road Vets.  I knew Stanley needed his teeth done and I really wanted him to do a good once over to make sure his hocks were still okay, back wasn't sore, etc.  

Dr. Esterline gives such a great exam and explains everything he is doing very carefully and in plain English.  He let Equestrian Girl feel the sharp points on his teeth before going to work and asked how she would like something sharp in her mouth!  He brings it all down to a level we can understand.  I love that!  Made a few suggestions about supplements and when I told him what we were using he said he was impressed and wouldn't change a thing.  He thought Stanley was in great shape for his age (12) and no doubt would win many ribbons with Equestrian Girl riding him.  

Homeschooling:  They are both done with their work for the week and got nothing less than an 80% on their quizzes!!

Motocross:  The boys worked on cleaning their trailer all day and getting packed up for the weekend.  I always think it takes them way longer than it does us but I think that's because I clean our horse trailer when we get home, not before we leave!  Anyway, just about everything is loaded and they'll take off tomorrow morning to practice at one track for the afternoon and then head up to another one to spend the night and then race there on Sunday.  Us girls are still debating on whether we'll go or not.  If we do, we'll meet the guys half-way to the track on Saturday night and then all ride together.  I'm not sure they want us to go.  We sleep like hotdogs on the grill in the motocross trailer!


Anyone who has spent much time with horses know you get dirty.  You've probably also eaten more than a snack or two around your horses without washing your hands first.  Same for motocross - it's dusty and dirty and you even run into gas and grease.  Despite warning to sanitize or wash before eating, I've never gotten sick from any of that.  No....instead I have lunch at a swanky country club yesterday and get food poisoning.  My guts were rolling like I had a marching band inside before I finally got it off my stomach.  I felt better for about 20 minutes and then went back to bed.  I'm trying to force some toast into myself...I know I'm hungry.  My back is also killing me from laying in bed for 12 hours.  

On a high note, I think both of the kids finished all their school work for the week...what easily could have and should have been done by Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Must have been the sun....

Homeschooling:  This is my star student - Abby the Wonder Dog.  She has a hard time sitting in her office chair but is known to sit in my lap while I sit in mine.  She works hard.  She retrieves the newspaper without fail every day...or at least the days when it's actually delivered with this goofy 3 day per week thing they have going now.  She's also an awesome motomutt - loves to hang out in the back of the race trailer watching what's going on.  She's good at horse shows too but I think she might be a little afraid of the horses...or a little jealous!

Equestrian girl likes to wear her PJ's while she does her school work.  And yes, that's hay on the floor in the background. The guinea pig eats it.  Really.  
Motoboy finally buckled down today and got some work done.  It was a rocky start this morning but we won't talk about that.  He did good and that's what counts.  For today.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is it the weather? Full moon?

Homeschooling:  Left Dad in charge at home this morning so I could go work the paying job (not that it worked out so well...more later) and in charge of the kiddos and school work.  Miss Equestrian Girl, my star student who was very excited to get her work done before her friend came over this afternoon when public school got out...didn't get it all done.  Far from it actually.  I won't even mention what Motocross Boy didn't do...

So is it the weather?  A full moon?  Seriously, these children are failing me!  Or is it me that's failing them?  Maybe we need to step back and reflect on what we are asking.  Or maybe we just need to crack the whip!!  Just kidding.  Kinda.  

Horses:  Stanley is now on Day 3 of his vacation.  Tomorrow it's back to half-reality.  We have no plans to work him hard or anything but Equestrian Girl is going to go play with him.  IF she gets her school work done!  If not, then I go ride him for a while.  He gets Thursday off again and Friday it's work - lesson AND the vet comes.  He still needs a few immunizations and he might get his teeth floated (Why do they call it that?  There's no floating involved.  It's all filing and grinding and incredibly painful looking if you ask me... Maybe because they give the horse good drugs and he/she gets all floaty?).

Motocross:  This really has to do more with my comment about the paying job than motocross but it is slightly related.  I drove the husband's diesel truck this morning.  I had to reasons:  first I would really like to reduce the number of miles on my truck and second, mine was still attached to the horse trailer which means cranking that baby up and down twice to get it off the truck and I didn't want to get sweaty.  Good reasons!  So I'm tooling  along the x-way with a little more than 1/8 of a tank and thinking what great gas mileage we are getting since I'm almost on 500 miles for that tank of fuel, and I don't seem to be accelerating quite right - the truck is sort of coughing.  I actually thought it was the transmission and figured I had better get over since I was in the left lane with no shoulder to speak of.  

Moved over one lane with foot off the accelerator and then onto the shoulder but OMG my brakes don't work!!!  OMG neither does my power steering!!  OMG there is a HUGE drop off on the other side of the guard rail and I'm coming up to a bridge and there is no more side to the road!!!  Apparently God heard me because I came to a rolling stop 2 full truck lengths before the bridge - the fact I was going uphill helped.

So apparently I ran out of fuel.  And apparently because it's an older diesel, you can't just add more and make it run again.  Air gets in the fuel lines and needs to be bled out.  So a second tow truck comes (2 hours after this all started) and took me to our mechanic.  And here's the tie into motocross - his son races motocross.

Five hours later I was on my way back home $200 poorer and still never made it to work...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Motocross Boy

Motocross:  If you aren't familiar with the sport, it involves fast little dirt bikes (bigger bikes for bigger boys of course) and lots of dirt.  The goal is to get around the track the fastest - pretty simple.  But not easy.  The tracks are tough.  There are lots of bumps, ruts, jumps, and turns.  Hair pin turns on banks that are nearly vertical.  Although it can scare the crap out of me, it honestly is fun to watch.  

Motocross Boy loves to ride.  He doesn't care so much that he wins first or does all that great, he just likes to do it.  He doesn't seem to have a super strong competitive spirit - that can drive Dad nuts.  He WANTS him to want to win.  I'm not so sure I do.  He's safer when he's in the back of the pack.  How bad is that?  You put your kid in an incredibly dangerous sport and then want him to hang in the "safe" zone?  Pitiful.  We have an ongoing discussion in our house about which sport is more dangerous - horses or motocross.  Saturday Stanley reared up on Scott and that made his mind up that horses are more dangerous.  Today we found out that one of Motocross Boy's friends broke his leg.  This is right after another one broke a leg and a third broke a wrist.  Hmmmm.  Seems we know more motoboys with broken bones than equestrian girls!

Motocross Boy did manage to get his math and reading done today.  If he did his Social Studies and Science I have yet to see it.  Tomorrow he has to be caught up for the week or no practice on Wednesday...he hasn't ridden in weeks...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Just Horses

Horses:  I love horse shows.  I really do.  I love the atmosphere, I love being with my daughter, family and friends.  I love watching really good riders and beautiful horses.  I really do.

Yesterday was our first experience riding as part of a team.  Equestrian Girl had joined the local school's Junior Equestrian Team - this is the middle school team.  The biggest reason was to make friends with like-minded local kids (homeschooled kids are so sheltered and have no friends you know).  It really wasn't about showing since we already had a pretty full show schedule for the year.  Let's just say that yesterday was about the most stressful show situation we've ever had - and Equestrian Girl was only in 6 classes.  I didn't love it.

And today's show is a scratch, or at least it is for us.  The show grounds got hit by a whopper storm this morning and more rain is coming.  And our Stanley needs a break.  He needs a break.
This is a picture of Equestrian Girl and Stanley on the left a millisecond after the bay mare kicked her in the thigh.  She's okay - bad bruise and scrape.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just Horses

This is NOT how a horse's mane should look when you are done banding.  This is a disaster.  Our old horse had this great mane...not too thick, not too thin and laid down nice and flat with no cowlicks.  This horse...this Stanley horses...well he's a different story.  First, he doesn't have much mane hair to start with.  Second, there's this huge cowlick about 1/3 of the way down that make that hair want to stand straight up.  I suspect it may have even laid on the wrong side of his neck way back when and someone managed to get it trained to the       correct side but not perfectly. 

 Anyway, after the disaster in this picture at the first show, we talked to his old owners and they suggested that he bands much better with a DIRTY mane.  Huh.  That's different.  Kinda like how up-do's on women work better with slightly dirty hair?  So last show we still felt compelled to get his mane wet as part of his bath and I still used conditioner, but no shampoo. That's dirty, right?  Wrong.  It was better than what I did above but still not so lovely.

Today we didn't even get it wet with his bath.  Left it dank and dirty and rolled in the mud all week dirty.  Heh, didn't even brush it out much.  And went to work with the bands.  I shoulda had the camera...it turned out GREAT!  Best it's ever looked by far.  I'll try to get a photo tomorrow for comparison's sake.  Hopefully it actually lasts through the show tomorrow since we also have one the next day.  Though the forecast isn't looking so good.....might have to scratch since they are talking thunder storms.  


Homeschooling:  Equestrian girl is done with her school work for the week.  Motocross boy has quite a bit to do...they were supposed to have today off.  I have to find a way to motivate that boy and soon.  He's slacking big time.  Suggestions?

Horses:  Equestrian girl has a lesson with her trainer today at 2:30.  Hopefully we get in a good tune up for the team meet tomorrow and she does really well.  After the lesson it's bathing, clipping and banding time.  That stuff takes forever but it's so nice to have such a pretty, clean horse when you are all done.  I used to actually like banding but not so much any more...Stanley has a really thin mane which means really tiny bands.  He also has one heck of a cowlick in his mane that causes the top third to want to stand straight up.  ugh.

Motocross:  Motoboy was invited to practice as someone's private track but he has to get his butt in gear if he wants to go.  This afternoon he's going to visit his buddy who broke his wrist last weekend.  Another friend broke his leg the weekend before.  Why do I let him do this?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Homeschooling:  It's our choice to keep schooling through the summer although at a much reduced schedule.  Why am I getting 3000 questions about this from others lately?  Seriously, how many hours of vacation does a kid really need?  I'm asking for 2 hours of school work 3-4 days per week...what else would they be doing every morning?

Horses:  We got our team assignments for the "jobs" we will be responsible for at the meet on Saturday.  People are already grumbling.  Apparently many have missed the meaning of the word VOLUNTEER.

Motocross:  Motocross Boy is still sleeping at 8:30 a.m.  He's getting a slow start to his commitment of last night to get all his work done...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In the beginning....

There was this mom who was just trying to do it all...love her husband, homeschool her kids, encourage her daughter's equestrian goals and support her son's love of motocross.  And since she is pretty horrid at remembering to put photos in albums, she's hoping she can blog them into immortality.

Okay - that's me obviously with a slant to the dramatic.  Way too much going on so I'm starting with TODAY.

Homeschooling:  I read an interesting slant to the question, "why do you homeschool?"  The answer leaned more towards creating good people able to form good relationships than anything to do with education as we traditionally think of it.  That got Scott and I to thinking (Scott being the husband I love as mentioned above).  Dangerous thing when we think too much.  Why do we homeschool?  In a nutshell we decided it was to create happy, healthy (mentally speaking), productive citizens able to make good choices.  This might not seem like it has much of the traditional education to it either but we see the "productive citizen" part as encompassing that.  To be a productive citizen you must be able to hold a job and that most often requires some sort of education.  We don't necessarily see our son as the traditional education type but certainly able to be productive.  The healthy part is important too.  We can all control our health to a certain degree (eating right, not smoking, exercise, etc.) but our mental health is also important.  Being able to form health relationships is paramount to our health as adults - what better way to develop that in our children than by every day demonstration?  

Horses:  Stanley is our 12 year old Paint.  He saw the farrier this morning for a serious trim job on the tootsies.  His pedicure costs WAY more than any I have every had.  On the other hand, I've never had one that requires cast iron tools and stainless steel nails!  This afternoon, his favorite little girl practiced patterns on him for her Junior Equestrian Team meet this Saturday.  They looked awesome together.

Motocross:  Not much happening in this arena.  The moto-boy hasn't been getting his school work done or showing much motivation lately.  Not too sure where this will lead him but racing isn't cheap so he might get a practice this week if he's lucky.  Dear ol' Dad is in charge of this sport so he usually makes the call.  Late last night he committed to getting his work done so we shall soon see....