Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cuffy's coming home

When I was 12 I got my first real horse.  By real I mean my own.  Previously to that I had my dad's old steer wrestling horse, but I had to share him.  Then when I was 12 I got Cuffy, Cuffy Beau Jack is his registered name.  He was 3 at the time.  He was the first horse I ever trained and spent 10 or so years doing so.  He was my barrel racing and team roping horse.  I loved him but we had this love-hate relationship.  He liked to tick me off and I liked it when he did it.  We just knew eachother.  I won my first and only saddle and buckle off of him.  Here's my little bragging blurb, I actually competed at the Canadian Team Roping championships and won with my brother Cory.  I didn't do as well as Cory, he won 4 titles that day, something that had never been done before or since.  We had an opportunity to then go to Guthrie, OK to compete in the National Team Roping Championships but we didn't.  We were happy enough winning Canadian titles.   
Then when I moved into town I stopped using him so much and it was around a time when people from the states were coming to buy some of our horses.  My brother sold his horse to a fellow from Hawaii, and they were interested in Cuffy but he was a little older than they wanted.  So instead word of mouth occurred and a fellow from Mayerthorpe came to try him out.  He really liked him.  I was not in the best financial state so it seemed like a good idea to sell.  I was asking $12,000 for him.  CRAZY, I would never pay that amount of money for a horse.  So anyways.  Terry, the fellow, liked him and so we went to Sherwood Park to have him vet tested to make sure that he was sound and not hurt in anyway.  I remember the vet moving his one knee in an odd way and then when I trotted Cuffy down the hall he came up lame.  The Vet said it could be just the way he twisted it or it could be damaged, x-rays would tell.  Well I prayed.  I remember saying "God if I'm not meant to sell him, have the x-ray show something".  Well as you know by the title, everything was fine and I sold him.  I cried along with my dad all the way home from Sherwood Park.  Sure I paid of my debts, put some money away, bought another horse, but it wasn't the same.  I felt like I had turned away from my best friend, sold him out. 
That fall Terry lent Cufft to a fellow team roper who happened to be competing at the finals held here.  Well I got to see him and one night after the rodeo I went to the barns where he was at and cried.  I promised that one day he would come back home.
Well a number of years later Terry had got a new horse and Cuffy was for sale, this time though for $17,000.  Seriously?!  He's older and now you want more money?  Well needless to say if I'm still renting, I don't have $17,000 to spend on a horse!  So he sold to someone else and he has been there ever since. 
Well a week or so ago my brother, Cory, called and asked if I had any spare cash, my answer "I'm unemployed, no."  Well turns out Cuffy is for sale and he is now 20 years old and the asking price is $3000.  Well that is a significant drop but still I don't have the extra cash and I couldn't justify borrowing money to buy a horse that really I want just because he was my horse at one time.  So that was the end of the conversation, I dismissed it.
The next day Cory called me and said that I best kiss up to my youngest brother, Casey as he bought Cuffy back.  I can't believe it.  He's coming home.  Now I know that I am not the "owner" but I will be one day, I'll go back to work and I'll buy Cuffy from Casey and I'll fulfill my promise to a horse that he will die at the farm.  Oh how I love my family though.  Really who decides to just buy an extra horse when they don't really need it just to have it back home and put a smile on your big sister's face?!  I'm so blessed to be in this family.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's always a learning process

So the weekend was good, despite how my blog from yesterday might have sounded. 
I was enlightened though.  I often forget that Jacob's entire world is different than what it was 4 months ago.  This made me try to think of what could possibly be the same.  I couldn't think of anything.  How hard that would be on someone; especially a 2 year old. 
He lived in the city, we live in a small town. 
He rarely left home, we go somewhere everyday. 
He was being raised by 2 parents, now he has 1. 
He didn't have a lot of children around, we have a little girl come over a couple times a week and we go to a play group at least once a week, and we see his cousins at least once a week. 
His parents were quite elderly, okay just really old, and I'm young!  Hey I got told I look 20 this weekend, I'm using it to my full advantage. 
He wasn't talking at all, now he chatters away all the time and the majority of the time it is words, not just vocalizations. 
He was fed his food, I let him feed himself (by this I mean they literally spoon fed him and he didn't seem to have a say in how much he ate or didn't eat, now he controls the utensil and when he says "done" I let him be). 
He was told "sshh quiet!"  I never tell him this unless we are pretending someone is sleeping.  I know that this happened because this was one of the first things he would say on a consistent basis and it was always at meal times.  We talk non-stop at meal times now. 
He wasn't potty trained, now he's almost there. 
He didn't have a regular sleep schedule, now he is up everyday between 7-7:30, nap after lunch for a couple hours, and bed at 8pm. 
He hated baths, now he loves them. 
He wasn't an affectionate little boy, well that's what his assessments said.  He always comes running and wants to be cuddled or snuggled.  He easily falls asleep in my arms at least 3 times a week.  (I'm a sucker and sometimes I let him do this just so I get to hold him). 
He didn't have any pets, now he has 2 dogs.
He had temper tantrums to the point he would bang his head.  He hasn't done that in over a month, in fact he rarely has temper tantrums anymore.  Oh sure I'm not going to lie, he does get upset and starts crying but nothing like he used to be when he got upset.
He even drank all his liquids warm.  I have to admit he has now had 4 slushes, little ones, but he loved them all just the same. 
When I think of all these changes and how I would cope with them I begin to realize the magnitude of the change of what has occurred in his very young life. 
This has made me realize that I do need to understand that although I feel like he has never not been in my life, sometimes I can't treat him like that and I need to understand that if he can't and doesn't want to sit through yet another chapel time it is okay for us to leave and go sit in the foyer and I hold and tickle him.  Which is exactly what we did today. 
My life needs to adjust to him, not always his to mine.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Judgement - my struggle

We went to a single mother's camp this weekend.  It was out at a lake only 15 minutes from town and my church sponsors the camp.  It was great, and is still great I'm sure; we came home early.
Jacob had no accidents at all, he even pooped on the toilet this morning!  He was great all weekend.  I however was not so great.  Have you ever seen one of those parents that only seems annoyed with their kid all the time?  I never want to be that mom.  So then I feel like I'm not disciplining to what other people can see or how they would discipline and then I feel like they are judging me.  There were other moms there, some with young children and some with teens.  I know that it is absolutely in my head but I felt like I was being judged as a parent.  So here's the scenario.  It was 5pm, Jacob and I were outside in the sand playing when we got told it was supper.  SO as per usual Jacob says "hungry, hungry, hungry" and I say "hungry as a bear, lets go eat".  At home this is immediate, supper or meal is then served.  Unfortunately though supper wasn't actually ready for another 20 minutes and so he's hungry, I'm trying to keep him out of the kitchen, he's annoyed and hungry now, then it is supper and he's so worked up he doesn't want to eat and he wants up, down, on my lap, off my lap, down, etc.  I finally leave him go play and he's still upset so after about 5 minutes I think, "we don't need to eat here, let's go eat outside where there isn't all these other people and distraction, and where I don't feel like eyes are looking at me saying "do something with your kid already!"  So that's what we do, and sure enough he eats 3/4 of his meal, his desert and half of my desert.  Then it was quiet time and then chapel.  All he wanted to do was go outside and play, however I wanted him to be the perfect child and come to chapel and just be good.  That was not in the cards.  He wasn't happy doing anything, so it was distract, play, upset, distract, play, upset, distract....... Finally I got it, let's just go home.  He's had a long and very busy day, he isn't used to so many people, he isn't in his environment, he isn't used to the bed, he isn't used to sleeping with other people in his space, he just isn't used to camp.  So then as soon as I said "let's go home"  he said "home?" and went running to get into the jeep.  He was happy as a clam all the way home.  I cried all the way home.  I struggle with judgement.  I feel like I am judged as a parent to him when he isn't being perfect and I overthink this.  I know he isn't perfect, I'm not, no one is.  I love him to death and he's my son through and through, I just struggle with me as a parent.  I feel bad that I made him suffer through my stupidity of pushing too much at him today.  I feel bad that I think he can handle crowds when only 4 months ago he barely left his home.  I just feel bad sometimes that I don't pick up on his cues.  So if any of my blog readers pray would  you mind adding me to your list every once in awhile that I would have more patience with myself.  God chose Jacob for me, he gave me the perfect son to me, and it is a gift, I sometimes don't feel like the perfect mom for him though and this is the judgement that I struggle with . 
So our day ended with us watching Ice Age together, eating popcorn and then him falling asleep in my arms.  It was a perfect day, I just need to convince myself of that sometimes.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Oh how I love the summer!  I could stay out all day long busying myself with garden and flower stuff.  I tend to be a bit fanatic about it, I check each day to see what has grown and what hasn't.  I'm so happy that almost everything that should have come up has!  I brought some raspberries bushes from a friend in SK and so far the golden one's are coming up, red ones I am being patient and hoping that they will still come up.  My virginia creeper is also coming up strong, on both ends of the fence to keep out my creeper!  I don't really have a creeper for a neighbor but sometimes you just want some privacy!  The peonies are also all coming and the lilies have so many shoots coming up that I think this fall I will have to thin them out!  My strawberries even surprised me and two from last year are coming up again.
This year I chose pink and purple flowers throughout the front yard.  In the back is gardens and a raspberry patch.  I added the raspberries and a second garden for tomatoes and peppers this year.  Last year was my first attempt and my spot was so shady that nothing really grew because I also planted it all wrong.  Live and learn.  This year in the shady spot is cucumbers, beans, and peas.  I love flowers though and I always say I should have been born in California where you could have flowers year round.  A few months of the year will have to do though for now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Never a dull moment at the Dunlop household

Well I had my week all planned out.  Today would be off visitting with a friend who lives 20 minutes away.  Then tomorrow my dad was going to come and bring the rototiller and work up a garden spot for me.  Then Wednesday I have a friends little girl for the day and I was going to start planting some of my garden.  Thursday I have the little girl again and we would play outside and I would patiently watch over the garden and the Friday is just Jacob and I so maybe we might go to the pool or something.
So by the title you can guess that my week is not going as I planned.  I did go to my friends this morning, we had a great time visitting and watching the kids play outside.  Then we went inside for some yummy homemade chicken noodle soup.  Shortly after lunch I got a text from my mom asking if I was still at my friends, I was.  Then she sent another text but before I could read it she also called.  Turns out my dad, who is almost 60, was riding his prized horse and got bucked off, he needed to go to the hospital.  So I finished eating; I'm not that callous, he had called my brother first and my brother was going to meet me, I was halfway to Bonnyville, so I had time to eat.  Then I put Jacob down for a nap and left him with my friend then went to meet my brother to take my dad to the hospital.  Why could my brother not just take him you ask?  Well it was my nieces mother's day tea at school so his wife was going to be at the school and he had to be with the other two kidlets.  So anyways, back to me and my dad.  We get to the hospital and they send him for x-rays.  He's sure that he hasn't broke anything, he thinks that he just rolled off the wrong way and that he tore the muscles in between his ribs.  Now my dad has been riding his whole life pretty much.  He has had numerous falls, breaks, bumps, etc.  He usually is pretty right though in his self-diagnosing, when he broke his leg in 4 places he made no qualms about going to the hospital, he knew something was wrong.  Or when he broke his pelvis 3 years ago, again he knew he had to go in.
So we wait for the x-ray results.  Now my mom used to work at this hospital and everyone is very familiar with her.  When the doctor walks in and says "Ken I don't think Doris is going to be very impressed with you" you just know that isn't a good sign.  He fractured 5 ribs and punctured his lung so there is a small hole that is releasing air into his body so he had to be transferred to Edmonton to have a tube placed in his lung or the air pocket, I can't remember so that the air pocket goes away.
So needless to say, no rototiller and no garden this week.  That's okay though, I got to spend the afternoon with my dad, even if it was in the hospital.  I am very aware that the only thing that is guaranteed in this life is death and so when I do get to have some time with my parents I appreciate it.  I do see them often, my mom comes for lunch everyday, but I don't always get one on one with my dad, so I appreciate it.
He was so concerened about the fact that I had left Jacob and was very worried about how he would be when he woke up from his nap and I wasn't there.  As predicted, he was fine, but when dad called tonight he still asked how he was and if he had been upset.  A grandfather's love is just as precious as a mother's.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

First Mother's day

Jacob knows that I'm mom but he doesn't ever call me mom, if that makes any sense.  He will look at a picture or the mirror and point and say mom, but he will never call out "mom".  It doesn't bug me but I have found my friends and family asking him "where's mom?  or who's mom?" 
Well anyways this morning he was looking at my computer screen and the screensaver is a picture of us.  He points and says "mine mom" you betcha baby!  I'm your mom.  Then later on he did point right at my chest and say "mom".  Now that's a mother's day gift.
Here's a few shots of what we did today.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Jacob's memory amazes me.  I don't know if other kids his age have a memory like him but if they do I guess he's just amazing me because I'm his mom.  After our little trip to Saskatchewan he came home with a train and tracks.  It is a perfect little train for him, magnets to hook up the cars and wooden tracks that he can fit together and make a track how he would like.  Great gift from one of my co-workers.  Well two days after we got home I noticed that two of the little cars were missing.  I searched high and low for them and couldn't find them.  Well today we went outside and he goes to one of his dump trucks and in the crane part that scoops dirt he pulls out the two little trains!  I had put the truck outside because it is kind of big and more of an outdoor toy.  He knew exactly where they were!!  He shocks me.  He did this another time, hid a toy car at my office and then a few days later we were there and he goes and finds it to play with.
Now if he could just remember to use the potty like that!~  Actually I can't complain.  He had a perfect day on day 3 of training, no accidents.  Then it seemed like on Day 4 he totally forgot what he was supposed to do again.  Then half of today was the same.  Then this evening before supper he went on his own and then again after supper on his own.  He was playing with the train then all of a sudden stops, runs to the potty, sits pees, and then yells "PEE!!!"  with great excitement. 
Oh I'm so lucky to have him!