I Can’t Sleep Without A Fan {APADO #25}

(*yawns* This is APADO, the self-punishment of blogging every day. I haven’t failed yet, so I’d say I’m doing okay.)

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When the day is done and I’m through cramming my brain with information for the day,  I, like most humans, need to sleep.

My bedtime routine is a categorically specific process, which is strange for an ENFP, but I can’t get myself calmed down any other way.

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Whoops. I guess I should make up my bed before I do this post. In truth, I don’t regularly make up my bed, but I’m not going to show this flattened pancake nest of a bed on my blog.

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why is this so darkkkkk

There we go.

Instead of the harsh overhead light, I like to turn on my lamp. It helps to calm me down and relax before bedtime. It also makes photography kind of difficult, but EH.

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Whoa, that photo was aesthetic.

I have a little controller thing that makes it so I can turn off the lights from bed.

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Jedi skills unnecessary. Isn’t it convenient?

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There are two types of people in this world – people who can sleep with a fan, and people who can’t. I’m one of the first. Not only is it necessary for temperature control, the sound is soothing. And since I’m sleeping alone now (for the first time in my life), having some white noise helps.

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Then I set my alarm (because if I do it any later, I’ll forget). I put my alarm clock on my dresser so that I have to haul myself out of bed to turn it off. Once I’m out of bed, I’m awake, so it really helps to get me up in the morning.

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Then I get up in my bed and write in my journal. I get profoundly serene at this point – I have to force myself to not fall asleep yet.

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I have some books up here, but I’m usually too tired to read.

So with the fan on, my alarm set, my thoughts recorded, I get under the covers, hit the light switch…

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…and stare at my glow-in-the-dark stars until I fall asleep.

Ugh, now I’m tired. I think it’s bedtime.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

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That Time I Did THSC Teen Staff {APADO #24}

(Dees ees APADO, meh leetle blog serees wheere I poast efery dey een Ooctoobar.)

(All these photos are courtesy of Victoria, the awesome photographer who made an awesome video recap that I spent thirty minutes pausing and screenshotting. WHY DOES YOUTUBE DO THAT THING WHERE IF YOU DOUBLE CLICK ON A VIDEO IT FULL SCREENS. That was my nemesis.)

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Back in May, I went to a homeschool convention. Also known as the best thing to ever convene in the history of conventions. I was part of the Teen Staff program, a unique mixture of volunteer work, group games and activities, and lectures.

(If I remember someone’s name, I put it in, but assume that any unlabeled person was someone I didn’t know or couldn’t remember their name.)

We were divided into two groups, and those two groups were divided into five teams each.

Team Juliet

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We were an awesome team. We were efficient…and friendly…and horrible at all the group games.

My nametag had been messed up – for some reason it said íTessí. I’m still not sure why. For awhile it was my nickname (“itsa me, íTessí!”) but it confused the exhibitors so much I had to scratch it out and write plain ol’ Tess above it.

Service

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The main part of our program was helping out around the convention. It’s not called Teen Staff for nothing. We did “hospitality”, which was pretty much passing around cups of water to all the exhibitors. Oh, and I went and got a guy a Monster energy drink from a hidden vending machine.

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We did book check, too, which was pretty much babysitting people’s curriculum purchases so that they didn’t have to haul them around the convention center.

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And whenever we were just hanging out, we were expected to be helpful and friendly and good representations of our generation. I think we did a good job.

Lectures

I could say a lot about these lectures, how informative and awesome they were, but let me just say four words:

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I MET KEN HAM.

‘Nuff said.

Group Activities

In between service times and lectures, we got to play group games. This was easily the most fun part of the service (although it was definitely the loudest).

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For one game, we were split into three groups. Two of the groups sat in rows of chairs facing eachother. One was able to see the rest of the room, and one had their backs turned.

The rest of us were blindfolded and led into the room. We weren’t told what we were supposed to do.

The rules: The people who could see what we were supposed to do had to nonverbally communicate the instructions to the group with their back turned. Then that group had to interpret the instructions and call them out to us.

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Never has collecting some balls and putting them in a bag been so hard.

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We did an engineering challenge with spaghetti and marshmallows – tallest tower won. We all ended sticky, chewing on raw spaghet, and laughing our heads off at our miserable excuse for a tower.

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And then we did skits. Our group was charged with making a commercial to sell a book about office organization.

And it got weird.

So?

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I had absolutely no experience with large groups and interacting with people my age when I went into this.

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I came out chomping at the bit, ready to go again, wishing it would last about a year longer. Or that May would come again in anything less than a year.

They let us sign our shirts at the end of it all. I hung mine up on my wall.

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Every time I look at it, I have to go check the calendar.

Only 187 days until next May.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

An Interview With Emily {APADO #23}

(APADO is my blog series thingie that has me blogging once a day for the entire month of October. I’m so close to winning, I’m scared to fail.)

(And while we’re talking about kids…)

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this is to date the worst featured image ever. it looks like a potato.

My little sister is quite the character. She has a rough time, being the youngest of seven kids (and there’s an enormous age gap – there’s no one between me and her). She catches her fun where she can, though, and she’s definitely a light in my life.

I want to say how much I appreciate her, so I decided to give her a time to shine. To talk about herself. To showcase what a cool person she is. And honestly she’s such an actor that it’s almost too cute but since when has that stopped me before?

This is, without further adieu, an interview with Emily. Any mid-interview comments will be in italics.

The Interview

Me: *setting up camera*

Emily: What are you doing?

Me: Would you like to do an interview with me for my blog?

Emily: How…do I do it?

Me: I just ask you questions and you answer them.

Emily: Okay.

Me: You wanna do that?

Emily: Mmm-hmm.

Me: So – we’re going to pretend that I’m a newspaper interviewer and I don’t know anything about you. Because I do kind of know some of this stuff. I just want you to say it in your own words. Does that make sense?

Emily: Mmm-hmm *already bored*

Me: So. Ahem. What’s your name?

Emily: Emily Or’El.

Me: Wow, what does Or’El mean?

Emily: *thinks* I don’t know.

Or’El is Hebrew for “light of God” btw.

Me: *laughing*

Emily: *also laughing*

Me: What grade are you in?

Emily: Second.

Me: Can I talk to you about school?

Emily: *thinks* Like what?

Me: *laughing again, it’s impossible not to laugh around her* What’s your school like?

Emily: Mama.

It’s kind of a joke between her and I that Mama is the answer to everything. Any question can be answered with Mama.

Me: *laughing*

Emily: *also laughing*

Me: No really, what’s your school like?

Emily: Mmmmm…I like it. I like Language Arts the best.

she’ll make a great writer someday >:) 

Me: That’s awesome! What’s your least favorite subject?

Emily: Maaaaaaaaaaath.

Me: *trying not to laugh* What do you not like about it?

Emily: Mmmmm…*thinks* It’s too easy.

Me: *laughing, but mostly because this kid has beasted me and she’s less than half my age* Uh, what are your days like?

Emily: Mmmmm…*thinking again* Wake up, play with Emunah, drive them to Odessa, drive Tess to the barn…mmmm…go home, do JOS, aaand…go get Tony, drop Tony off, and go to bed. And read.

I feel so bad for her. Her days are tough. She rides around in the car a lot because us abusive big kids have places to be. What a little trooper.

Also, Emunah and Moses are my sister’s kids who come over to play while she’s at work. They live 20ish minutes away.

Me: What’s your favorite part of them?

Emily: *thinks* Reeeeeead.

Me: Like, before bed?

Emily: *nods*

Me: What’s your least favorite part of your days?

Emily: Going to sleeeeeep.

Me: *laughing because she’s making a neurotic face that indicates the amount of crazy I’ve rubbed off onto her*

Me: What do you like to play? Like with Emunah or with me or…whatever.

Emily: RUN RUN RUN.

Me: “Run run run”? How? Like, tell me more.

Emily: *thinking* Mmmmm…race.

Me: Race. Um…who are your friends? Like, who do you consider to be your friends?

Emily: Mama, Tess, and Tony.

Me: Awww *touched that I’m so high on the list*

Emily: And Avi. And Noah and Isaiah. And Madison.

Me: Madison! I have a friend named Madison.

Emily: Nooooo the Madison next doooooor.

Me: I don’t think we’re talking about the same Madison.

Madison Grace Lorfing I am looking at you madame

Me: Let’s see…what do you do when you’re alone?

Emily: Mmmmmm….*thinks for a really long time* Play Little Rabbits.

House term for Calico Critters. I actually walked in on her playing with them when I started the interview.

Me: Um…do you like Chase?

Emily: Mmmm-hmmm. Chaaaaase!

Me: Which Chase are we talking about?

Her dog is named Chase, and he’s named after her favorite character in PAW Patrol. Gotta get things clear here.

Emily: MY Chase.

Me: Uh…what’s your favorite movie?

Emily: Mmmm…Journey Beyond Sodor.

JBS is a Thomas and Friends movie.

Me: Aaand what’s your favorite TV show?

Emily: Thomas.

She’s wearing a Thomas t-shirt. Go figure.

Me: Do you like any other TV shows?

Emily: PAW Patrol. And Clifford and Busytown. And Barney.

Me: Ahmmmm…will you sing for me?

Emily: *shakes head* MMM-MMM.

Me: *laughs at failed attempt* Uhm, do you have any hobbies?

Emily: *thinks* Run. Race with Siggy.

Sigma is my sister’s Boston Terrier – Chihuahua mix. She has so much energy. But Emily keeps up with her.

Emily: Mmmmm…play dolls. And play play play!

Me: *laughing* Was this interview fun?

Emily: *thinks* Yaaaaash.

Me: Is it fun to talk about yourself?

Emily: Nawohhhh.

Me: *laughing* Would you please stop doing that.

At this point, she’s remembered that I’m filming her and that she can be cute and get away with it.

Me: You’re too cute, okay? Oh, one last thing – will you show me the way you do Chase’s “PAW Patrol, ready for action”?

Emily: *thinks about it*

Me: Please? Please please please?

Emily: Okay. *imitates Chase* PAW Patrol, ready for action, Ryder sir!

And then she proceeded to lick me.

I wonder where she gets that weird sense of humor?

Sometimes I take Emily for granted, or don’t appreciate the little things she does that make my life more fun. Sometimes I let things get in the way of spending time with her. Sometimes I deserve the Crummy Older Sister Of The Year Award™.

But to be honest, I think we all do that to some degree.

Enjoy your little siblings, if you have them. Love them. Care for them. Be interested in what they’re doing. They’re little people in their own right and will surprise you with how complex they are.

I know I’ve been bad about it recently.

And that’s something I don’t want to admit, but I want to fix.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

4 Ways To Entertain Kids Under 4 {APADO #22}

(Ladeez and gents, this is the series you’ve waited for – a post on every day, for the entire month of october – I’m buried in the posts that I really shouldn’t ignore – Taking my breath, and stealing my mind – and early bedtimes are left behinddddd…)

(that was corny.)

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Between being an older sister, an aunt (I know, I can’t bring myself to say it either), and a babysitter, I wind up entertaining kids almost every day. And I’m no expert. In fact, most of the advice I would give a newbie would be how not to do it. From experience.

But y’all probably aren’t beginners, and that would make for a pretty negative post. Instead of lecturing, I’m going to serve up four different tested ways to entertain toddlers (and a few tips on how to keep older kids interested in the same stuff!)

A Few Things To Note

A toddler’s attention span is shorter than the fuse on a firecracker. Don’t expect anything you do with him or her to hold him there for more than fifteen minutes. If, by some miracle, it does, don’t touch anything and let him play with it for as long as he will. And praise the Lord for the break He’s given you.

Toddlers get overstimulated very easily. Don’t bring out too much at once. They’ll either become stone-like neandrotoddlers or little ticking time bombs of energy and meltdowns. Use your tricks slowly and present them like they’re something special – even if they’re just a few things laying around your house.

Thing No. 1: Pom-Poms

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There’s something about these little balls of neon fluff that are mezmerizing to a toddler. (Watch them in her mouth and make sure she know’s they’re not for eating. If you’re really worried about her choking on them, get the jumbo ones.) She’ll enjoy scooping them into a pile and chaotically spreading them around, or throwing them in the air and having them drop on her head.

Some other things you can do:

  • poke them into a wide-necked bottle (like a Gatorade bottle). This was really popular with my babysitting kid.
  • fill the divets of an egg carton with them. You could even sort them by color and be educational.
  • If you’re watching an older kid along with a toddler, she could get involved by using a big needle and some yarn to string them together and make caterpillars.

Thing No. 2: Sensory Bottles

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Firstly: these are better if you make them ahead.

Secondly: please, please, please tape the top of the bottle shut. Don’t let kids drink glitter.

Thirdly: These are so much fun to shake, roll and spin. You could fill them with glitter, colored oil, Orbeez, or sprinkles. Add a little water (or thinned clear hair gel for something a bit thicker) and tape the top closed, and you’ve got a toddler timekiller. These are especially good for quiet play on highchair trays and car rides.

A few other ideas:

  • These are somewhat artsy. Try theming your bottle contents for birthdays, holidays, and seasons.
  • Play with how much water you put in them. Less water = more shakable, more water = more swirlable.
  • Older kids will love to put together their own bottles with your supplies. But even though they’re more mature, don’t skip the tape for them – these things are awful when they explode.

Thing No. 3: Masking Tape

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This roll of semi-sticky goodness is your best friend. Never watch kids without it. There’s a ton you can do with it, but here are some ideas:

  • Use it to mark starting lines for races of all sorts – hopping on one foot, crawling on hands and knees, shuffling with a sock ball in between their feet (“emperor penguin egg”). It’s also handy as the end line for Red Light, Green Light.
  • Mark X’s on the floor and play The Floor Is Lava. Anyone not on an X is burnt. (This one’s fun for a big group of varied ages.)
  • Use similar X’s on the floor instead of cushions for Musical Chairs.
  • Tape one single line on the floor and have them walk across it. I call this the World’s Safest Balance Beam™.

Thing No. 4: Sticky Notes

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This one’s super simple but surprisingly enthralling. Get a pad of sticky notes you don’t particularly like and let him peel them off and stick them to stuff. He’ll be in love with the way he can put them on everything. What’s arguably even more fun, though, is peeling them off, crumpling them up and throwing them.

You could also:

  • Draw designs on them (before sticking them to the wall!).
  • Fold them.
  • Rip them.
  • Older kids can stay interested, too. They can fold teeny annoying paper airplanes or make a puzzle by putting a bunch of them in a grid and drawing a picture, then challenging you or a sibling to put it back together.

In short:

Toddlers don’t need elaborate games to keep them interested. Sometimes all you need is a simple object and a bit of direction.

A final tip: don’t over-manage. Show her how to do it a few times, then let her do her thing. There’s nothing worse than having someone breathing down your neck when you’re trying to poke pom-poms in a bottle.

And if you don’t have siblings or babysitting clients? I hope that on the day when you somehow get picked to watch the church daycare classroom, these ideas will float down your mental stream of consciousness and be useful.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

Taking A Casual Saturday Stroll On A Wednesday {APADO #17}

(It has come to my attention that some of the individuals who have not subscribed to this weblog are unfamiliar with the series depicted by the above acronym. Each letter in the acronym is the initial letter of a word in the phrase “A Post A Day – October”, combined in sequence to create the nonsensical word “APADO”.)
(that was unnecessarily verbose)

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I like to take walks – on Saturdays. When it’s sunny and people are home to walk with.

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But today was a Wednesday, I was on my own, and it’s been forty degrees and drizzling all week. Which is great when you’re watching from behind glass and worth complaining over when you’re out in it with no gloves.

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^ raw enthusiasm.

I had big plans. I was going to attempt some aesthetic photography and selfies, just to see if I could. And possibly for the vain reason that I wanted a good picture of myself.

And as far as I could see, it wasn’t going to be too difficult.

Hehe.

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Three days of drizzle means beautiful water beads on the grass.

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Which is great until you walk through that grass and soak your shoes that are not meant for this kind of weather. And then the West Texas Wind™ kicked in and thoroughly refrigerated my feet.

I was not ready to give up yet.

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With things all nice and overcast, it was time to try for those shots.

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Nope. I just look like I’m wondering if it’ll rain. Which it is raining.

Maybe I can get some walking shots.

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Eh. Um. I think the gravel is filling the frame and ruining my composition.

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Is it just me or do I look like an android trying to imitate a human?

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After this little gem of a photo, I decided to pull the plug on my whole aesthetic photography thing. What’s the point?

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So I just played around on the cold, stiff playground equipment and froze my fingers off.

Which was definitely a lot more fun than trying to be someone I know I’m not.

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I found this tiny pine tree and played around with the self timer on my camera and ended up looking like Godzilla, roaring over a towering pine tree…

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The minute I let go of this ideal that photos of me should look a certain way, the minute I stopped noticing the cold and the fact that I was alone.

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^ actually enjoying myself

My feet were still frigid. Oh well.

On the way home, I took some cool pictures of the largest river in my hometown.

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I was so worried that I’d plunk my camera in it, though.

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Fortunately, it survived.

I stood in the middle of the street and took pictures of this puddle because why not.

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I almost felt…like a photographer. Like I was having fun taking photos. Maybe I finally understand why y’all like cameras so much.

Before my fingers were completely done for, I ran over my camera.

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And somehow it looks cool?

I found this key on the sidewalk just before I went back inside to sit on my hands and laugh my head off at my failed aesthetic photography.

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I like to think it’s symbolic.

Because I may have unlocked a big secret that many people are too embarrassed to share.

The harder I try to make myself look good, the worse I feel about myself.

But the minute I throw all the aesthetic-Pintrest goals out the window and just have some fun, I end up with photos I like?

It’s a weird paradox, isn’t it?

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

Everyday Miracles {APADO #12}

(APADO = a post a day, october = nerve-wracking heart-attacking self-inflicted blog challenge i should be regretting but i’m not)

(this is going to be a short post, seeing how yesterday’s was as long as four cvs receipts)

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I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but I really love to roller skate. I’ve been doing it off and on for years, but I get the same thrill every time I pull a pair of skates on.

But life’s been busy recently, and I haven’t had a chance to get to the rink. It doesn’t help that I outgrew my skates (which were hand-me-downs from one of my sisters). They were a good little pair of quads…before I got gargantuan feet.

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from a go pro vid at the the skating rink (and feat. my older older brother mac)

It’s not as easy when you don’t own your own skates. I have to bring an extra dollar to rent a pair, and they really aren’t terrific. (I mean, if you consider the constant abuse they go through, they’re astonishingly good. But the wheels are really slippery. Maybe it’s a ploy by the management to get insurance money or something.)

Earlier this year, I was considering buying a pair of roller blades. But they’re expensive, and although I have some spending money, I can’t justify spending a hundred dollars like that.

That hasn’t stopped me from wanting a pair, though. They’ve been on the brain since the beginning of summer.

So let’s flash forward to today. My granddad was going to this giant fair-thrift-store-rummage-sale-thing, and being the spontaneous person I am, I came along.

(Now when I say “Granddad”, please imagine a 70-year-old man who looks like he’s 40, laughs like he’s 20, and gives advice like he’s 104. He’s the definition of hardcore awesomeness.)

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I give you – an ENFP paradise!

This place was awash with awesome stuff. I brought my camera, meaning to take lots of pictures, but honestly I was too busy looking at everything on the tables.

At least I got a shot of these baskets of records, though. Aren’t they minorly aesthetic?

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Anyways. I was having fun looking at everything, destressing from a very long week, forgetting about all the things I really should have been doing – when I saw them.

Rollerblades.

Beautiful rollerblades from the era where they had the joint for your ankle to flex correctly. In my size.

For – I could have sworn I was dreaming – $3. Three dollars.

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I still can’t get over how amazing God is. How I had almost given up on getting roller blades, and He dropped them in my lap when I was least expecting it. How He works in big, big ways – but still cares about little things like…rollerblades.

It’s been a really, really good day.

tl;dr: Little miracles happen every day. You’ll never know until you start looking for them.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Scouty {APADO #9}

(i bet you’re tired of hearing this but THIS IS APADO, THE BLOG SERIES WHERE I TRY TO POST ONCE A DAY FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH OF OCTOBER you know what, i’m tired of hearing it too)

(and honestly i was just looking forward to showing some puppy pictures so yeah)

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Scouty is my dog. And technically, his name is Scout. But I can’t stop giving him nicknames – Scouty, Snickerdoodles, Scoutydoodles, Doodlesnick, The Snicc, Scoutysaunez, Scouty-Wouty, Wittle Scouty, Wittle Buddy. The one I use the most, though, is Scouty.

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captain, scouty – they used to fit in an apron pocket!

Scouty was born on Februrary 2nd of this year, which makes him about nine months old. He has at least one brother – Captain – who belongs to my older older brother.

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captain and scouty fighting

When he was little, he was the explorer of the two of them. He was the first to make contact with our other three dogs. And he was always sniffing around, exploring. It only made sense to name him Scout.

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gahhh these puppy photos

I’ve only had Scout for eight months or so, but I don’t know how I got along without a dog before then. It’s worth the getting up early to feed them, cleaning up their messes, dealing with their barking. Isn’t it funny what we put up with for our pets?

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in a skirmish with jake, one of the older pups

In our dog pack, Scout is kind of in the middle. He likes to do his own thing most of the time. But he is jealous over laps and will growl at anyone who comes to sit on whoever he’s sitting on. Usually, that’s me.

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Scout is half Chihuahua, half Fox Terrier. You almost can’t tell that he has any Chihuahua in him except for his size (he’s tiny!) and the fact that he shivers whenever it’s under seventy-five degrees outside. I’m seriously going to have to get him a dog sweater this winter.

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he looks so over this selfie thing >w<

I’m so lucky to have a dog. Especially one as cute as Scouty.

tl;dr: Just like everyone else, I love my dog.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

Roller Coasters {APADO #6}

(This is APADO, a series where I attempt to write a post once a day for the entire month of October. And I’m already burning out. And this is fun, I’m reminding myself.)
(This is Saturday night, it’s been a really long week, and I need to get batteries for my camera so I can write some posts that actually mean something – but hey, gotta do whatcha gotta do.)
(And the photo in the graphic’s not mine. And I don’t really care….? It’s from Six Flags’ website. Kudos to them. Ditto to the gifs.)

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You never know just how brave you are until you sit in a roller coaster car and pull down the restraint.

Not only are you about to experience ridiculous speeds and incredible Gs, but you also just chose to do so. Willingly.

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For me, this realization brings my heart rate up at least 25 bpm every single time I ride a roller coaster, even though I go to Six Flags a bit more than your average person.

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It’s easy to talk big when you’re safe on the ground, watching the coaster do its thing. But it gets progressively harder as you weave through the cue line, as you get up close to the ride, as you feel the energy it’s throwing off surging beneath your feet.

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And the very hardest part is sitting down in the car, pulling the restraints down, and accepting the fact that you’re going to do something that doesn’t make logical sense.

But that’s the fun part about roller coasters.

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Because you made a stupid decision. You’re doing something that doesn’t make sense.

And you’re able to.

When you’re going up the hill, you know you’ve been really, really rash, but when you’re going down, you know why people love roller coasters.

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Because humans like to go fast.

We like to feel the power of something we’ve invented.

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somewhere in there is yours truly after riding the coaster pictured above – my mom dragged me on it >w<

And we like to feel proud of ourselves when we come screaming into the station. Because against all odds, and everything coming at you – you just rode a hundred-foot-tall metal beast. On purpose. And you had fun.

Imagine the places that kind of mindset will take you.

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me and younger older brother – nothing like a day at the park ^v^

And this is why I love roller coasters.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

(P.S: yes, I have ridden all the roller coasters pictured in this post. yes, it took much determination/panicking. my home park is six flags over texas.)

 

 

My Horseback Riding Journey {APADO #5}

(APADO = a post a day; october. I’m trying to post once a day for a month and it’s kind of killing me, but I’m doing alright. *wipes brow*)

(I really, really, really need to get batteries for my camera so I can take some photos for blog posts instead of relying on my backlog.)

(and this post is kinda personal so if that’s not your thing then that’s okay ^w^)

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I think it’s public knowledge that I love horseback riding. I’ve been doing it for three years now and I feel like it’s going to be a part of me for the rest of my life.

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these photos all look bad but I don’t have time to fuss over it right now

Though I had loved horses for all my life, I didn’t sit on a horse until I was 12, when I saved up all my money and bought a semester of riding lessons. They weren’t exactly as I’d imagined, but they weren’t too far off. I’d say the best thing I learned was how to groom a horse. I had no idea how much I’d use it later.

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There was a little show at the end of them – just to show off to our parents what we’d learned. I placed last in all the classes, but I had fun.

All my ribbons said “participant”. As in “good try!”

Of course, I didn’t really care that much about the ribbons. (Honestly, I was just glad I had won anything.) What I did care about, however, was how expensive the lessons were.

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hanging with my uncle’s crazy horses

I spent that summer still obsessed with horses (as usual), wondering what I should do. I could either get rich or get creative.

I chose to get creative.

That fall, I started helping out at a broodmare farm. I groomed horses, mucked out stalls, and did whatever I needed to do. And it was here, at Willow Tree Farm, that I found out that I love to ride bareback.

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I also drew this picture of one of their horses. on notebook paper.

There wasn’t, though, enough to do at Willow to justify my riding there – I didn’t have enough experience to do what really needed to be done. Even though I didn’t want to leave, I unofficially started looking for another place. But the chilly evenings spent cleaning tack or riding bareback on their old jumping mare will always be a special time in my life.

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i’m legit always wearing this tobymac shirt to the barn?

I found Skyline Farm at the beginning of last year. It’s a stable that specializes in riding lessons for all ages. Being the dork I am, I wrote a letter asking if I could trade barnwork for riding lessons, and eventually started assisting the trainers during the kids’ lessons. It’s actually a really fun job. And I get paid in – oh yes – riding lessons.

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from one of my gopro videos

I really have to thank my trainers at Skyline for getting me to the place I am in my riding skill today. When I came, I hadn’t even trotted yet. Now I’m jumping and cantering and stuff.

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I even competed in a small show they had there (and actually won first place!)

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from another gopro video

But what’s really made Skyline good for me is all the ground experience I’m getting. I’ve learned so much more through helping out with lessons than if I were just taking them myself.

Honestly, I don’t know what my horse future has in store for me. But I’m just going to keep in stride with it, to use a horse term. Hehe.

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If it’s anything like how things have been so far, I don’t think I’ll ever be bored.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Conversations With 13-Year-Old Me {APADO #4}

(This post is part of a series called APADO, where I try my hardest to post once a day for the entire month of October. So far, so good.)
(I’ve been giving a lot of advice recently and it feels weird so I’m just gonna talk about cringey old posts okay? okay.)

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What was I doing in 2016?

I was being a little weirdo (and enjoying it).

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this is from a video my brother took of us fooling around at a uhaul place in amarillo. in 2016. it wasn’t supposed to be slo mo but doesn’t it look majestic?

I was playing in the snow, hiking and camping, riding bareback at Willow Tree Farm, and really enjoying my childhood (even though I was technically a teenager).

I was starting this blog.

According to my first post, I was a horse-nut, writer, gardener, photographer, half-crafter, artist, and reader. What is “artist” doing so low on this list?

I had a huge vocabulary and no discretion on when to use it. I was throwing around words like “liable”, “whatnot”, and “filibuster”, just because I could.

I was clueless on how I should talk to my followers. Or to anyone, for that matter.

In short, I was being every 13-year-old: living life, having a good time and thinking I was better than everyone else.

And, as a result, my first posts on this blog are really dumb and self-absorbed. On one hand, I want to bury them and hope they never meet the eyes of anyone I respect and trust.

But on the other hand, why bury what you could ridicule? Publically? For your followers’ enjoyment?

The things I do for you guys.

Let’s go see what 13-year-old me was up to.

We’re diving right in with my first post. It was called “The Beginning Of It All”, and it starts:

G’day. I’ll bet you came here from Silver Sky Dolls, my other blog, and I’ll bet you’re wondering why I decided to begin the personal blogging adventure.

Okay, Tess. Never assume that your followers are wondering anything, because they’re probably not (unless they just worship you). Oh, I forgot. You don’t have any followers! Yet.

Why Steeplechase? It’s sort of a crazy name. A steeplechase in the horse world is a race that goes through several jumps and ditches. My outlook on life is a lot like that – a lot of it is going through obstacles. In this same way, my blog is not themed persay, unless me-themed counts.

I know you’re trying to sound like you’re knowing what you’re doing by explaining this blog’s name. Why don’t you just tell them the truth – that you just picked the name because it sounded cool?

(Honestly, I’m surprised I was able to be trusted to pick a good blog name at age 13. By some miracle, I still like it.)

I have my feet wet in a lot of places, and I am liable to get them wet in several more over the years.

Yep! You’re right! You might go on to try animation, embroidery, and sticking googly eyes to anything and everything.

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I went on to talk about envelope art. I didn’t really make a point, maybe besides that presentation is important.

I finished that post with this little specimen of a note:

(P.S: Soon, I will go to THE TALLEST PLACE IN TEXAS….Guadalupe Peak! It is an 8-mile round trip for hikers. I’ll be traveling every week next month, so we’re going to have a little bit of a traveling theme for here at Steeplechase and at the partner blog Silver Sky Dolls.)

Get used to travelling, Tess. You’re going to be doing a lot more of it in years to come.

(Also: is the hike the eight-mile round trip or is that the distance to the park? Clarity is important.)

(And: please stop considering SSD as a partner blog. It really is its own thing.)

I did end up going to Guadalupe Peak a few days later, though. That hiking trip was a lot of fun.

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I must have been exhausted when I wrote this post, though, because it has less energy than a slug taking melatonin.

So…We Meet Again…For The Third Time… (Let’s hope I can say that without sounding like your nemesis.)

That’s creepy, Tess. Please stop. It’s not “cool” to be creepy.

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This is a very bad, very blurry picture…

Oh, get used to that, too! Your pictures will be bad and blurry for years to come. Isn’t that comforting?

I had intended to go to bed at ten o’clock the night before, but that didn’t happen, and I was in bed at eleven-thirty. (I sort of go to bed kind of late all the time. Nobody’s perfect.) I didn’t get to sleep until midnight. (I have a minor form of insomnia, I think. It always takes me a little to get to sleep.) And I woke up at four the next morning, because we needed to leave at five, so I ended up with four hours of sleep. Yippee.

You really should try going to bed earlier. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in the habit of doing that before sleep becomes a thing you crave?

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That’s the scope of things. Consider Guadalupe Mountains National Park as your next hiking destination!

Unless you’re a couch potato. Then you can enjoy my photos!

*slow clapping* Very nice. You just called all your followers who aren’t athletically inclined couch potatoes. Oh wait, you didn’t have any followers at this point.

Until Clara was nice enough to follow me, that is. Love you, Clara! Thanks for dealing with me through thick and thin.

I decided to talk about amateur art after that. It was definitely still amateur at the time.

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awww isn’t completely ignoring perspective and depth cute?

(WARNING: BIG BLOCKS OF MONOLOGUE AHEAD. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THEM.)

So…people will probably not read your monologues, no matter how much you beg. Why don’t you do the obvious and just REWORD YOUR MONOLOGUES, YOU VERBOSE CHILD?

Random tip #1: You can draw anything, even if you don’t specialize in that specific field.

Um…okay? But just a question, Tess – why are you giving art advice? Didn’t you just begin this post by saying you weren’t really an artist?

Random tip #2: It is very, very normal to have bad drawings, sessions or even days. Don’t give up just because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to.

Alright, I’ll give it to you – that’s actually pretty solid advice. I mean, that’s a pretty solid “random tip”. You take yourself so seriously, don’t you?

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Random tip #4: Draw from real life, but draw from imagination too.

Well, that’s nice and elucidated. You’re so thorough!

I am not telling you to invent weird creatures or design spaceships (but if you want to, knock yourself out; no one’s holding you back).

*facepalm*

How does that sound, CLARA??? I know you are my only follower right now, so I will start addressing YOU more often. Sound good?

See ya later, CLARA!

From, Tess

So there’s this thing called a signoff, and you can use it so you don’t sound like a sarcastic jerk begging for followers.

I decided to get more personal after this. And hopefully stop giving advice. But I didn’t stop being condescending?

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what’s funny is that my bedroom really hasn’t changed much

I share a bedroom. I have shared a bedroom all my life. Before you go, “Oh, how dreadful!” hear me out. Bedroom sharing is an excellent practice. After all, you’re not always going to have a room all to yourself, be it rooming at a college or grown up and living with your family. Thus, if you have your own room, I am better off than you.

All the flavors in the world, and you choose salty! Okay. This is a good concept worded abhorrently. Maybe you should go for something that doesn’t make people with their own bedrooms feel guilty? Just a rule of thumb – never make your followers feel guilty. Tess, you have so much to learn about writing blog posts.

I hope this inspires you to clean your room!

Spoiler alert, Tessie – it probably didn’t!

Yours sincerely,

Tess

Maybe you meant “sincerely yours”?

I started to get the hang of things, though. Which is good. I started to try to add humor into my posts. Which…is good in some ways and not really great in others?

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Random tip: If you want to draw a horse in action, but can’t draw a rider for beans, put it on a lunge line, like so:

TESS. “RANDOM TIP” IS NOT OKAY. NO ONE CARES ABOUT “RANDOM TIPS”. OR THE WORD “RANDOM”. OR ART ADVICE FROM A 13-YEAR-OLD.

Gah, I was so cocky back then. Or is it confidence? I can’t tell which is worse, though – to draw horribly and be proud of it? Or to draw well and stress about improvement?

I’m leaning toward stress, though. At least you’re tolerable to be around.

Unlike a certain 13-year-old me.

Ready to be blown away?

(Well, don’t take my word for it, but I am positive you will be.)

Do yourself a favor and stop taking yourself so seriously.

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Most Western bits are made of a metal called sweet iron. The reason they call it such is because it tastes sweet in a horse’s mouth, the same way pennies taste sweeter than dimes. (If, as a young child, you ever ate your father’s coin collection, you would know what I’m talking about.)

So, this is actually okay, Tess. You went straight to the point, you explained it well, and you actually made it semi-funny.

(But maybe I just think it’s funny because everything else in these posts is so unfunny, this stands out as mildly amusing. Hm.)

That minor success doesn’t stick around for long, though.

I went and did the stupidest thing. The unthinkable. I wrote a self-centered, boring, rambly “top ten things you didn’t know about me” post. Oh, Tess, you’re an idiot.

7. My second favorite animals (horses are first) are blue macaws.

Tess? There’s this animal -it’s called a wolf. It’s majestic, beautiful and fun to draw. Have you ever heard of it?

I’m still drawing. Still doing amateur art.

It still looks kind of terrible.

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once upon a time, this was my best piece of work.

What would you like to see me draw? I’ll consider it.

What would I like to see you draw? Something that has respect for proportions and volume. Ahem.

Things I wish I could tell 13-year-old Tess

  • You are a cocky little jerk who can’t stop talking about yourself. Seriously. Yes, it’s your blog, but that doesn’t mean you can think you’re better than everyone else. Newsflash: you’re not.
  • Your art needs improvement. Also, please start learning to shade now, so that when you’re older, you’ll be better at it.
  • “Random tips” do not equal sound advice.
  • Drop gardening as a hobby. You have a black thumb and you kind of know it, but you’re too prideful to admit it, aren’t you?
  • Be nice to your followers. They might end up being your best friends one day.
  • And please, please, please tone down on the verbosity! THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO USE THE WORD “LIABLE” IN A PERSONAL BLOG POST. EVER.

Conclusion

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to bash beginner bloggers. There’s a learning curve to it, just like anything, and it takes quite a while to get the hang of the right tone of voice to use.

(Here’s where I wonder if I’m being cocky again. I think my blogging tone is good right now, but that’s what I thought back then…oh no, here comes the anxiety.)

I think I was most shocked by my personality back then, though. I haven’t ever realized what a stuck-up, prideful twit I used to be. In fact, I used to think I’ve always been a nice person. Maybe not so much anymore.

It’s very, very encouraging to look back on these posts and see how far I’ve come. In maybe more than just my posts’ quality. Hehe.

tl;dr: Don’t be cocky. Unless, of course, you want an ample supply of cringe to read later.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}