Tuesday, August 27, 2013

She's fifteen now

Today, the child who caused my transition from woman to mother, turned fifteen years old.

It wasn't always easy -- it still isn't -- but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I can hardly remember my life before her.

I'm so proud and privileged to have such a wonderful child who is growing to be a wonderful young woman. I hope she knows just how very much I love her and how important and special she is to me. I hope she doesn't always find her journey through life difficult, and I hope that everything she dreams about that is good, comes true for her. Mostly, I just hope she knows. Happy birthday, Kira. I love you so much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The summer will be over in less than two weeks, and the kids will be back to school and the Brandel household will resume its typical nine-months-out-of-the-year schedule.

This part of the year causes me much angst, sometimes, as I want the summers to be full of fun experiences and relaxing good times for our family, but most of the time, I feel like I fall short. I work at home/from home, and I have been very, very busy for several months. This did not abate into the summer months, and try as I did to lighten the work schedule, it just wasn't happening.

We spent a lot of time near computers, but we also visited the library often. We watched movies, but we also went to the pool several times a week (unless it was raining!).

I taught Wren to ride a two-wheeler recently, so we rode bikes, but not as much as we could have. We didn't travel, really. There was quite a lot of running back and forth to the office, but also quite a lot of running back and forth to the barn. I much preferred the barn running.

Wren AND Noah both rode in horse shows, and we did get to the drive-in at least once this season.

Kira has had a few happy weekends home, this last just so full of bubbly teenager life that I hated for her to leave. She's at the beach in Maryland now, hopefully enjoying time on the beach with her cousin and riding her bike all over the place.

I thought, this afternoon when we went to the pool for a little while, that it actually has been a pretty good summer. Yes, my work was relentless and took up way more time than I wanted it to, and no, we didn't travel or do a whole lot of big-deal things, but we spent time with friends, relaxed as much as possible, and did have fun! That's really what it's about, anyway.

And thanks to my mom, Travis and I got to run away to the mountains for two nights and go camping and canoe eleven miles down a section of the Shenandoah River. That was fantastic (and worth an entirely separate blog post).

I'm really looking forward to the kids starting back to school -- this is my first year where they all are in public school -- but the summer has been fun and pretty much what a summer should be like.

I do need some solitude and quiet, though. And the ability to work without constantly being interrupted. Soon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday things

We're going camping!!

...well, Travis and I are.....

Three weeks left of summer vacation. I know the teenager is OH so thrilled about that. Three more years, and she is done with required schooling, although *I* require she continue her education in some way.

Today will likely involve some shopping for school supplies. Kindergarten and second grade this year, and tenth, but I have learned never to buy everything on the list for grades above 6th. They never use all the supplies, and Kira prefers her own methods of organizing, no matter how inefficient I think they are.


The kids probably need some clothes, too. And shoes. I'm contemplating letting Kira loose at the mall with some money and her best friend, and instructions to buy a few pairs of jeans and a couple tops. She hates clothes shopping as much as I do.

I feel like I am in a holding pattern of some type, waiting for some kind of avalanche or epic event. My head feels too full and my hands feel tied, and forward progress is either nonexistent, or infinitesimally slow. End of summer? The period of time that precedes change? That frustrating plateau that you live on right before you make the next great big leap?

Who knows?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Some days, I just wish I had my own horse so bad, I can't stand it.

I feel like I've waiting long enough -- isn't fourteen years, several job changes, a divorce and remarriage, moving to a new city, two more kids, and salary increases enough? Patience is not a virtue that I have in this situation. I'm worried I will be fiftysomething before my horse comes into my life for real.

Maybe I will be. Not that there's anything wrong with being fiftysomething, no more than there is anything wrong with being fortysomething.


"Someday" seems a long way away, still.


Next week, for a couple of days, Travis and I are going on our first solo overnight trip in eight years. We are going camping up in Page County, near Luray. We've been to this outfitters' place before and loved it, so we are going again. We're planning on spending a day canoeing the Shenandoah River, tent camping for two nights, and even going to Luray Caverns. I am so looking forward to it, I can hardly wait. I don't even care if it rains, to be honest. A fire in the firebowl each night, peace and quiet, hopefully a full night's sleep, stargazing, spending time out on the river, and getting to do stuff WE want to do....it's going to be heaven, even if it rains (which the forecast says it isn't going to).

We even got a new tent (which leaks at the seams, but that's what seam sealant is for).

I've got to dig out all our old camping gear -- the Coleman stove, the coffee pot, lanterns, things we haven't used or needed since 2004. It's going to be so much fun! And oh boy, do we need this trip. Thanks so much to my awesome Mom, who is coming down to ringmaster this circus for a little while for us.


In other news, my super-wonderful boss is leaving the company. I am supremely sad, and kind of worried what 'work' is going to look like after he's gone. Oh, I'll say all the positive stuff -- "It's gonna be FINE!", "Not much will change!", "There's nothing to worry about!" -- but I am still wary. And slightly cynical. But I'm adopting a wait-and-see attitude, and plan to just keep doing my thing and hope for the best.

And now, a gratuitous horse picture.