Almost done with 2016…

While there haven’t been many blog updates that most certainly doesn’t mean we haven’t been up to lots of stuff! It’s becoming harder and harder to find either 1) the time or 2) the energy to update the blog with all the fun that’s happening in our lives. However, thanks to quick access to phones with cameras at least some of the fun is being captured visually and shared in various places…

With all the excuses out of the way, now that we’re in December perhaps I can fill in the gaps a bit… let’s go in ascending order by age!

Phoebe is in first grade and loves it… she loves the idea of school, the process of it, the social aspect of it, and, still, the “playing on the swings” aspect of it. She has really taken off in her reading. She loves to read and is reading more and more these days on her own.

Phoebe is also in a hip-hop dance class and is really enjoying it. I’m sure she gets her moves from Mystique (clearly), so it will be fun to see where she wants to go with dancing. We just had her school’s winter celebration where each of the classes do a group performance… Phoebe was right up front, dancing away with her class giving it her all. It was great fun to watch.

Landis has decided that ballet is her thing so she has put her gymnastics career on pause while she purses dance. This year we switched to a smaller ballet school where she has the chance to be in a smaller class with more personal attention and she is soaking that up, for sure. In the winter, Landis landed a part in the production of Snow Queen as a wood sprite. This weekend has her performing four times over Saturday and Sunday and we’re all excited to see her in the performance. When we went to dress rehearsals yesterday she was really excited to see that she had a chair with her name on it for the weekend. I’m thinking she’ll love all aspects of performing!

Let’s move to Piper (yes, I know who technically is younger and should go first but I like to balance things out since it’s just a 2-minute difference)… Piper’s back in gymnastics, of course, and just had her first practice meet as an Xcel Silver (she was moved up from Bronze). She did great, of course… really nailed all of her events and was having fun out there doing it. I loved seeing her getting hugs and giving hugs to her coaches and teammates.

The other fun part with Piper is that we’re experimenting a bit in diving. After watching the olympics and hearing about how most of the divers have a gymnastics background we thought Piper would enjoy it, too. Mystique found a diving team that practices at ASU and while we waited for an opening for Piper we did a few private lessons with a former diver at NAU who lives in Phoenix (and can coach at the ASU diving place where the team is). She had a lot of fun learning how to dive and caught on to it pretty quickly thanks to loving the water and her gymnastics background. A spot on the team opened up recently so we’re off and running with that experiment.

The other big news with Piper is that she got her braces just last week. She’s such a trooper with everything and has handled this really well. Mystique and I thought she was adorable already, but now with her braces just accenting her smile, she’s even more so. She’s still adjusting to the “stuff in her mouth” but I know she’ll figure it all out and she’ll be out of them in no time (orthodontist predicts 18-24 months of braces for her).

And last, but not least, is Lela… since the summer Lela has been “attending” Oak Meadow  — a distance learning curriculum that provides coursework and a teach to homeschoolers. Lela’s really picked up on it and with her mom’s help is really doing well with a bit more structure, homework, essays, and probably way more math than she ever wanted to do.

Also in the summer, Lela competed in her first Arabian Youth Nationals show in Oklahoma City… there’s a whole big story behind just getting to the show, but we had a really fun week at the show and enjoyed watching all the Beethe riders and horses do well. Lela did a lot of showing and came back with a few top tens, a Reserve National Champion on her horse, Rossi (a hunt horse we purchased in the spring so that we knew she’d have something to ride), and was National Champion in 10 and under Western Equitation on Coco, one of Shannon’s horses. It was a really special moment, that last one… Coco’s previous owner had come to the show just to watch him and Lela compete and to have them do so well was such a treat. One of the many reasons we so enjoy the Arabian horse show scene… we’re part of a great barn and get to see some really special moments with folks who truly love the sport and the horses.

That’ll have to do for now… we’re coming up on the holiday season, so hopefully we’ll be back to talk more about all the fun that’s happening as we start looking forward to 2017!

This goes for gymnastics, ballet or whatever else they get in to:)

One of my friends asked “Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do horse riding?” Well I have a confession to make, I don’t pay for my kids horse riding. Personally, I couldn’t care less about horse riding.

So, if I am not paying for horse riding, what am I paying for?

– I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don’t.

– I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are “too tired” to go the stables but go anyway.

– I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined.

– I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body.

– I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates.

– I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don’t get that score they’d hoped for, but still have to work hard in the grading.

– I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.

– I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight.

– I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships.

– I pay so that my kids can be in the arena instead of in front of a screen…

…I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for horse riding, I pay for the opportunities that horse riding provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!

Phoebe is done with Kindergarten

Phoebe has finished kindergarten.  In fact she flew threw with flying colors laughing, singing, and dancing the whole way.  She has gotten so much joy out of the school year, more than any of the Haslup clan that has gone before her.  Even though she seems to love school more than anyone else (don’t get me wrong, they all love to learn, just not the social anxiety that school has become these days) she is still quiet and reserved at times, an observer at times and downright homesick at times.

These are the things her classmates said about her in their end of the year wrap up:

1.  Phoebe has lots of friends.  (true statement, she plays with everyone)

2.  She is sensitive.  (also true and you could add kind and funny too)

3.  She plays “follow the leader” with Ashton, Brenna and Jayesh. (it was fun to see her become the “leader” in play at school because at home she s happy to play the follower, interesting that she could translate what she learned from playing with her big sisters to be the leader at school)

4. Brenna likes to play with her.  

5.  Phoebe sits by Nadia at lunch time.  (if we had to pick a BFF Nadia would be it)

6.  Phoebe is pretty.

7.  She has two cute puppies.  (we did bring Charlie and Oliver for a playdate)

8.  Phoebe set money on fire for her science project.  (coolest mom ever vote)

We are sad to be leaving Ms. Kerri but we are not going far, just next door to Ms. Brenda.  Awakening Seed has been a great fit for our family, it is private so we are paying tuition but it meets Phoebe’s needs and my standards so it is worth it:)

The Babybel incident

When you are a mom of 4 you get in the habit of checking pockets and going through the kids laundry before you wash.  I find all sorts of things, I wash a lot of doll clothes and mostly do a decent job at the laundry.  

My wardrobe has evolved over the years and I am down to ankle length capri pants and Life is Good t-shirts most days.  It is comfortable and although I probably look more of the middle aged mom than I would like, it works.  It is simple, comfortable and most importantly the same so I don’t have to think much about what to wear.  If anything can help me make one less decision I am on board.

So with my easy wash and go wardrobe I can throw my whole weeks worth of clothes in one load.  Easy peasy right??  Well this week I went to do my one weeks worth of clothes and when I was taking them out of the washer Landis said, “what is all over your pants?”  I looked but figured I had spilled something on myself while cooking and put the pants back in the “to be washed again pile.”  But as I kept taking my clothes out I noticed more and more greasy spots, some of them with red in them.  Basically every single piece of my easy peasy wardrobe was spotted and splotched with red, waxy spots.  What the heck??  I started to investigate and found a wrapper and a wax pull from a Babybel cheese, you know the one, the one with the red wax outer coating.

OMG, in one 50 minute cycle my whole wardrobe was in ruins! Jason tried to help by searching online but his results were less than encouraging:(  The net of it is that the wonderful outer coating of the Babybel doesn’t come out.  

Being the resourceful mom I am and knowing I cannot replace those exact capri pants (because they are discontinued, and trust me I scoured the web) I tried to get it off with my super special grease cutting spot remover, no luck.  So then I tried Dawn dish detergent, I mean it gets oil spills off ducks right??  No luck.

Maybe this is the universe forcing me to upgrade my wardrobe?  But why would I do that when I have gremlins that live with me that think throwing their babybel cheese wrappers and wax in mom’s laundry basket is an okay idea.  Gah!  

Fevers and Night terrors

Ah, I remember sleep, it is some vague recollection deep in the back of my mind.  I am already accepting that sleep and I will never be friends again and I regret not appreciating you more when we were friends.  I have good memories of you, sleep.

Landis and Phoebe have a phantom fever.  I love phantom fevers…said no one ever. I took Phoebe to the doctor just to make sure it wasn’t her body fighting an infection and the answer was “nope.” So we are just managing fevers and the night terrors that go along with them.

Last night was a doozy, Jason had Landis and I had Phoebe and they both had night terrors and sleep walking. Landis is so quick to jump out of bed and run that you can barely catch her. It is crazy how coherent they are while deep in their dreams. Jason had to follow Landis around handing her something and telling her to cover her ears because something was very loud. Phoebe did not want to go somewhere I was taking her in her dream so I suggested we go get frozen yogurt and we did complete with eating noises as she downed her yogurt…in her dream.

Not only did we enjoy several sojourns last night, in which we had only minimal idea of where we were or what the heck we were doing, we also got to sleep with kids who felt like water would sizzle on their arms, H-O-T! Jason and I look like we got hit by trucks this morning and as we sipped our java we lamented about sleep and how much we wish we had appreciated it more before kids, lol!

Cactus Cup Meet

The girls had another gymnastics meet and it was exciting.  It was out in Glendale near the Cardinal stadium at the Renaissance Hotel and I had never explored that area so it was interesting.  I am still amazed that they set up whole gymnastics meets inside hotel ballrooms!

I thought it was a great meet, well run and quick moving.  Overall I think we were there 3 hours and a lot of that was the awards ceremony.  The girls both did super, I am so impressed with how they both can go out there and do their “jobs” and keep a positive attitude, be great team supporters and have fun.  A lot of that has to do with their excellent coaching staff.  Landis may have to choose between ballet and gymnastics at some point and I sure will be sad if she loses all that loving support that she gets from her coaches.

 Piper fell on beam again and it was her first event again AND she continued to cheer and get better the entire meet finishing on bars with a 9.525!  Both of the girls medaled in several events and got on to the podium.  Most exciting was the 1st place finish for the team, the girls were over the moon, it was the first first place for the Bronze Xcel team this season.

This Friday we head to San Diego for a meet followed by another meet next weekend. Then the season starts to wind down, it sure has been an exciting year for the Haslup girls.

One of those days…

I have had laryngitis, a sore throat, a cough and a terrible sinus infection over that last four weeks. Add in a crazy busy horse show, ballet practices, gymnastic practices, piano and all the other crazy things in life and I am DONE. Done with feeling badly, sleeping badly and being full of SNOT. It reminds me of my previous days when I used to eat a lot of dairy, hard to believe this feeling was a regular occurrence and was my “normal.” GAH, shoot me now.

Today I was spent, I had no more energy for this infection, I was toast…so I dropped the girls at piano and instead of going in to participate I went to urgent care. Thankfully piano is two hours (3 kids, two hour lesson) so I was able to get in and be seen by Dr. Trang, who was amazing BTW – quick but thorough and even prescribed probiotics with my antibiotics, and was on my way to pick up the girls at 11 without skipping a beat.

But I am still so tired and drained and not on my “A” game. So when I picked up Phoebe and she ranted at me for not packing more than one snack (this is her typical end of the school day I am overwhelmed meltdown) it was one straw too many for my camel’s back. I came home defeated, then Piper got upset about something, Lela accidentally broke the opener to the soymilk (which makes is super hard to open without the tab top) and I had a mini meltdown. Not the rage against the machine type, the curl up in the fetal and bawl type:( So the next thing I know Piper comes out of her room and Phoebe stops crying.

I look down the hall and Piper is working with Phoebe to help her make me a Get Well Soon card. Heart melting. Now I am still tired and ready for bed, with more work to be done today, but I feel so much better. Piper is always there to remind me that things can be so much better with a little kindness.  

In addition to the sweet card I got an fierce hug from Lela letting me know that it is okay to meltdown, show my warts and that she loves me anyway. I hope they know they can show their warts and that I will love them anyway too, because that feels pretty good.

Post to my 11 year olds

I read these words in an article and they really resonated with me (the girls get tired of me saying “I read this article and…” which is probably one of those funny things they will remember about me).  Time is speeding by as it seems to do and the reality of my oldest girls heading out the door to find their way in this world feels imminent.  I put pressure on myself to make sure I do my job and prepare them to forge their own paths. Here are some things I hope my girls have learned before they go:

1. Your decisions are important. One decision can change the trajectory of your life. It takes courage to decide you are not ready for something, and courage to decide to make yourself vulnerable and try something new. Always be courageous.

2. Maintain your digital privacy. If you would not walk into the lunchroom and shout it out, don’t ever text or share it on social media. Your “friends” list will not adhere to the same standards of discretion about your life as you expect, particularly when hitting the forward button is so simple. And never hit send on an email before double checking who is in the “to” field. Trust me.

3. Use the right measurements. Life is not measured in the amount of likes you get on Instagram, numbers on a scale or even your GPA. And there isn’t a “thing” you can buy with the money you make that can fill a void in your soul. Always remember that life is about the impact you have on others, so work on building your brain and growing your heart, and the rest will fall into place.

4. Always believe the best in people. Girls can be mean. Well, really, people can be mean. There will be a million times when someone says something or does something or you are told about something that rips your heart to shreds. Give that person the benefit of the doubt, and then offer them grace — because when this stuff happens, it is not about you, sweet girl. It says infinitely more about them.

5. Use your voice. Never sit idly by while someone else is being treated poorly. Period.

6. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. I often feel that all those cheesy sitcoms on the Disney channel have watered down your brain cells, but this is one lesson they constantly show that I hope has resonated with you. It feels good to fit in and it feels good to be liked, but you will find that being accepted only when you are pretending to be something you’re not is an exhausting, unfulfilling experience. And if I ever catch you acting dumb or helpless to attract a boy, I will ground you. Just kidding (not kidding.)

7. Take charge of your own happiness. No one can make you happy. It is a choice you have to make and it is hard. Trying to fill a void in your life with a person — or with another tangible such as food, alcohol, drugs, etc. is a lost cause. Find out what makes you the happiest, and then do that. A lot.

8. Never diss your sisters or your girlfriends. You need them more than you know.

9. You are enough, exactly as you are. At a minimum of 50 times each day, you will be told you are inadequate, and Photoshop will change what you think is normal. You will feel that your teeth are not white enough. Your hair is too flat. Your boots are cheap. Your thighs touch. Your makeup is wrong. Your voice is too high. Your face is too thin. Your boobs are too big. I wish I could say it gets better, but it doesn’t. Do not let these feelings break your spirit and fight against the urge to conform. Love yourself for who you are in this exact moment, because you are perfect. This is a lesson that most of us learn after having kids, but I’m letting you in on it now. You are a gift to this world, and if you ever forget, just ask. I know I’m just your mom, but I have a long list of compelling reasons why you are awesome.

10. The best is yet to come. The next nine years will have a lot of highs and lows, but rest assured that no one wants to peak in high school, and you have the best that life has to offer sitting before you. And as it becomes less often that you reach back to grab my hand or beg me to lay with you for just five more minutes, or think I’m the smartest person in the whole wide world, I’ll always be there for you — even when I let you fall before raising you back up.

I love you both to the moon and back! – Mom

The Ballet

Landis and I have been enjoying the ballet season this year.  So far we have seen Copellia, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.  Copellia we absolutely LOVED, it was so fun and funny.  The Nutcracker we loved and the second half we endured.  Sleeping Beauty was another fun one but we had to go to the 7:30pm showing after a long day at the horse show and we were beat.  We skipped out right at the very last dance but it was a great ballet.

Landis is learning her repertoire piece and is enjoying ballet.  She is learning more about classical ballet and why things are done a certain way. She loves to go early and watch the older girls milling about the lobby, she is a quick study and a good student. One of the instructors told me that she was a delight to teach and that they just loved her. I am sure her quiet disposition and her always at attention personality is a dream come true for most instructors.  We are still wondering if she loves ballet but so far it appears that she does. Dancing takes a lot of hard work and commitment just like all the disciplines that the girls have chosen.  I am happy they have found things that they enjoy and that teach them so much about life, being good sports, encouraging others and tons of other skills that will help them be happy in life.

Scottsdale Arabian Horseshow 2016

Today is the last day of the Scottsdale show. I can’t even imagine how tired everyone who works at the barn must be, that is one loooooong show. Lela finished showing On Monday. She had a tough few days with lots of getting ready, changing outfits and waiting, oh the waiting:)

If I had to pick one thing that I am especially proud of it would be how Lela owned this show. She took ownership of things like getting ready, putting on her makeup and handling her “get ready” routine. She did a lot of positive mental self talk to get herself in to her competition zone. It was amazing to see how much she has changed/learned since her horse show in December.

Just a few of her accomplishments at her first major show:

CHAMPION – Gold Country and Lela Haslup HA Western Seat Equitation Walk Trot

RESERVE CHAMPION – Lela Haslup and Sir Lancelott Saddle Seat Equitation Walk Trot

RESERVE CHAMPION – Sir Lancelott and Lela Haslup HA Country Pleasure Walk Trot

I think she is really enjoying the showing part. She is warming up to the getting ready and wearing make up part. Her competitive spirit is increasing and her love for the horses is definitely growing. We are pleased she is enjoying herself and learning so much. She is learning how to give and receive compliments and she did an amazing job complimenting others, thanking others and having her picture taken (which is important for her trainer and her business). She is feeling what it is like to be part of something bigger than herself and how what she does impacts others in her barn.

Way to go Lela. Keep working hard and reaching for the stars.