The Crush

Today I happened to see a text that my son sent to himself. My iPad shares the cloud with my kids devices so if I allow it the iPad can see their texts. I don’t check them as much as I used to. My son uses my iPad more than I do so I don’t remember to check much and frankly my kids either have some code I don’t know or they are just good kids bc the texts are fairly nondescript. I’ll see the occasional cuss from a friend or girl drama or dialogues on clothing or makeup ( most texts are from my daughter) but there isn’t too much to see. Today I saw the iPad sitting near my mom chair and I decided to take a quick peak at the iMessage App to see what was up. Well I was confused to see a picture of a pretty girl in a text to my son and it looked like it was from him too. He was in the room with me. Should I ask him? Probably not but I did anyway bc I’m just not one to hold back when I’m super curious. I try but I just start asking questions. I have no control.
Me: is this your picture?
Son: what ?
Me: who is this girl? Do you like her?
Son: yes i do what’s wrong with that?
Me: who is it?
Son names a name that I can’t remember – and apparently she is a popular singer -she can’t be that famous if I’ve never heard of her. I lie -I’m so out if touch with much of the popular music artists. But my son doesn’t like music that much. Which says something bc he plays trumpet. But apparently he likes that singer in the picture.

Me: you texted the picture to yourself? Why?
Son: I wanted her picture. It’s a screen shot. Is there something wrong with that? I like a girl. It’s normal right?
Me: you have a crush on her?
Apparently I was in shock.
Son : your acting weird. What’s wrong with that?
Me to myself: Um it’s wrong bc you never have ever admitted to liking anyone ever and now you are and I’m kind if freaked out. –I didn’t want to be freaked out but I was.
Me: of course it’s normal. You just never told me you liked a girl before. If I asked you always said no. And it’s not like you are going to date her.

Of course he just laughed. Silly mom. Yes silly me.

What was wrong with me? I think I was jealous. I vowed never to be a mom who got jealous when her sons affections weren’t only for their mom. It’s what has to happen -it’s normal. But I felt so sad. There was a picture of a girl and everything. My little boy isn’t little anymore.

Thankfully this is a celebrity crush and not a real girl that I might meet in the flesh. I have time to recover from this odd reaction and learn to be better at hearing the news the next time it happens. The next time it could be a real girl I could meet And i don’t want to make a complete ass of myself. Hopefully I’ll have years to perfect my reactions and even perfect acting like I like her when I don’t. I mean that could happen. I might not like who he likes. But I really hope I do. But if I don’t I’ll fake it. Ok I’ll try and fake it. I just need to get better at my acting. I did awful today. But it was the first time I encountered a girl that my son liked. I know -it was only a picture- how pathetic of me.

I never reacted this way when my daughter began liking boys. I did get after her about posting pics of famous boys on Facebook and Instagram but I even got over that. So has she mostly. She had one boyfriend that lived far away- the best kind- and that lasted maybe a month or so. I felt a different kind of weird with when she began dating. More protective. He was a very nice guy so I never had to fake liking him but we did only meet once. She broke up with him so I didn’t have to hate him for hurting her. Bc no matter how nice he was I would have disliked him immensely if he hurt my child.

I know I’ll be that way with my son but what is it with moms and their boys that make us so weird when they start noticing other woman(girls)? I know I’m not the only mom who got freaked out or who reacted oddly to their sons first crush. I have had conversations confirming this.

I want my sons to fall in love and someday have a families. I know when either of my sons love someone that person will be very special. I want to love them too. I have the best mother-in-law ever. She added me to her family as a daughter she never had. She did that with all her daughters- in-law. I have been blessed and I want to be like her. My reaction today doesn’t bode well for that but I have time to get better at it Hopefully lots of time.

They were just little guys yesterday right? Now they are young men with changing bodies and hormones from hell. It just happens so fast. One day their holding your hand so you can get them across the street safely and the next their off living their own lives-getting crushes on girls even when mom might not quite be ready for it. Ready or not mom – here it comes.

I better get ready ….

Thanks for reading…


This week began soccer tryouts for my son – Luke- and field hockey tryouts for my daughter- Kamilla.  We are not sure there will be FH cuts but we know there will be soccer cuts.  They both worked hard on their conditioning. I had written earlier this summer about Luke who really is a bit lazy. At almost 14 he- like many other boys his age – would rather be playing on his phone or xbox etc. It took some coaxing and prodding and bribery by me to get him to begin conditioning for try-outs. To him they seemed so far away. To his dad and I they seemed right around the corner.

As luck would have it we found some cheap but good camps to send him to.  Then a 7v7 league to play on and also one on one training by a soccer coach from a local community college(who did not charge near what he should have- but was he a great teacher). So he was on his way to training to ready himself for at least a shot at making it.

On Wednesday Luke and my daughter began their tryouts. I drove Luke to his try-out in the afternoon and there were SO many boys there. He and I just looked at each other and said “oh wow” at the same time. I just said “go give it 100% – thats all you can do.”  As i pulled away part of my heart was left with him. I felt the angst he must have been feeling, and then there is the hope. Why do they have to have cuts? Well frankly bc 50 kids are not needed to field JV and Varsity teams. Someone has to go – it was obvious by just looking at all those boys on the field.

Today is day three and Luke will find out his fate. This morning Kevin and I woke up feeling nervous for Luke. We so want him to make it. We don’t want him to feel disappointed but I get that this could be the start of a number of things that let him down in his life. It will be a learning experience if he doesn’t make it and thats ok..our kids need these types of experiences. Up until this point he never tried out for a team- his private school didn’t have cuts for soccer and they had a great team. he knew basketball had cuts and he never tried out..was that bc there were cuts? I am not sure. It always bothered me that in his earlier soccer years all the kids got a trophies and medals for participating. Some time that would end and there would be trophies for the winner only. I wanted my kids to know that you don’t get rewards for just showing up- that to win at anything it takes hard work and even then sometimes things don’t work out- but in the end you know you tried.

In my kids private middle school they were lucky to have sports teams and they even attended the banquet at the end of the year for 6-12 grades. At that banquet there were three awards per team for middle school. Most Improved, Might in Spirit (it was a Christian school), and MVP. You might think mom here wanted the MVP- nope. The award I wanted for my kids was might in spirit. For me that was the one where the winner would have to show the most character. My kids did win a couple awards at those banquets. I remember one year my daughter saying “next year I want mighty in spirit'” that warmed my heart. To me character is the most important thing. So thankfully in Middle School my kids were introduced to the fact not everyone wins something for just showing up.

As much as we don’t want our kids to hurt – ever- we have to know that if we try to save them each time they might fail we are doing them a disservice. Some of the best lessons in life come from failures and hurts. I have a son with ADHD and he very often forgets to do his homework and if he does it he often forgets to turn it in. He does have some accommodation that gives him a grace day for this. But not a week! I guess I could micro-manage him and walk into his classroom to make sure he turned it in(embarrassing for him!) – or I could bother the teacher and give some excuse – but what am I teaching him? It kills me to see his grades drop bc he didn’t hand in a project or a paper. He is off the charts smart- it will drive a person to drink bc of the frustration one can feel watching a person that stinking bright sabotage themselves. But sometimes you just have to let happen- a glass of wine can help heal the pain as you watch it unfold. It is so hard- but it is a life lesson for them and and it is not about us….if they fail it does not mean we did something wrong.

I was among the soccer parents the other day- all of our kids trying out against the other- I saw the parents scanning the kids and I heard them chattering in their groups. “I hear all the boys from last year are for sure getting a spot” and “I heard that they are only taking 18 per team”..”I heard 22″ blah blah blah. I am not living vicariously through my kids.  I made sure long ago that I had my own things that i liked to do. If my kids were all about a sport we would try as best we could to facilitate them getting in that sport and to get as much training as we could afford. None of my kids asked to play a club sport- and if they had we would have tried to put them in if cash flow allowed it. But we let their desire drive it. I had my love- horse back riding.

Years ago I learned a valuable lesson. I put my daughter into riding lessons when she was six. She had been in an orphanage for over 4 years and where she was there wasn’t much chance for outdoor play. She did not have good muscle tone for six year old – she was weak. She needed something to make her stronger so we began with gymnastics but we soon learned that was not her thing. So I got her riding- and I began riding again then too. But I made the mistake of criticizing her too often and correcting her and making her feel bad (remember I  am not the same mom I once was). I was so picky and anal retentive..why? I don’t know. Anyway she was a good rider – really good- She even ribboned at shows.  But somewhere along the way she never developed the love for it that I had. Was it bc of me that she didn’t really love it? Maybe- or probably- at least some of it. It hurt when she quit- it was something i wanted to have with her and it just never happened. I held a grudge for a while. I regret that. But I learned. I learned that I have to let my kids find their own paths. I am here to help them forge the way but I cannot make them live the life i have dreamed up for them..they have to find it themselves. All I can do is love them along the way and help of they need me- but always love them.

Do I want my kids to make their teams? HECK yes! Will i be sad if they don’t? Yes – but only because they will be sad- but life will go on. Luke already has a pool party to go to for a band activity tonight (he is going to be a pioneer this year by playing trumpet in the resurrected marching band for their High School – it has been gone 18 years I think). So I imagine if he doesn’t make the team he will be ok when he sees his band friends.

I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t feel my kids pain or worry for them more than they worry for themselves. But I know when to step back and let things happen – well at least some of the time..and I hope i will know when to step in. I can be a  tough mama bear if needed- sometimes I growl at outsiders and sometimes I growl at my kids.  We can be crazy nuts when it come to our kids- and really it’s all bc of that four letter word called – LOVE…

Thanks for reading:)


The sea of kids trying out for soccer..Luke is in there somewhere!

The gift of a ride….

This weekend was busy. We had a lot of things to take care of but I was determined to get a ride on my horse Harely. Sunday morning I woke up with a stomach ache and I still hadn’t ridden. Saturday came and went so quickly. We ended that day having friends over for dinner and we were up late. The over-indulgence of toasted marshmallows may have contributed to my sunday stomach issues. I felt crappy but I knew I was going to ride even if I puked while doing it!

We had church- which I skipped trying to will my stomach into submission instead. I meditated and I finally got going. We had to take one son to his last soccer instruction before his try-outs this week. We ran to the county fair grounds to pick up my photos that I entered. Then we returned to pick up my son at soccer instruction. We walked around the school track until he was done- and i have to admit I felt tired and crummy but I really wanted to ride.

After we got home we did not have a big window for me to ride before my daughter needed a ride to a friends house.  I needed my daughter to tack up Harley for me. Which she was happy to do.

So out we went to get going and as promised my daughter helped with the grooming and then put on the saddle and bridle- I kind of like having a groom to ready my horse for me how aristocratic! But in the long run the grooming process is really a bonding time with the horse. So I like to groom. I will, however, take the offer to have someone put the saddle on and cinch up the girth anytime!

I use a mounting block to get on. It really is easy that way. I got it so kids could get on if needed. Glad I bought bc it was helpful for me. I had a lot of pride and wanted to be able to mount my usual way by running and jumping up by vaulting into his back. NO I’m lying of course. I get on like everyone else by putting my foot into the stirrup and pulling myself up. So the block alleviated the need for me to pull must up which is would have been hard with my chest and shoulder issues. So I swallowed my pride and mounted up.

Up I went and off we rode. Harley hadn’t been ridden in a while so I didn’t know what to expect. I was thinking he would be what I call squirrelly-a little on his toes and uppity. But he wasn’t! He walked calmly out into the field and was a true gentleman. He got a little distracted when I changed direction and also when my Arab mare was freaking out and running at a full gallop in the field next to us all because I put a grazing muzzle on her. Note to self : don’t put on a muzzle on your freaky Arab for the first time all summer when I will be in the other field riding. Lesson learned. Since my daughter was taking some pictures of me riding she was able to get the muzzle off my mare and she settled down well. The good thing is Harley knows she is a spaz and doesn’t react to her all that much thankfully bc I didn’t want to be captive on top of an upset galloping horse!

I only rode for 25 minutes. Harley was being so good and I knew I would tire out and know ending a ride on a good note is essential. Harley wasn’t in too great a form. He didn’t want to bend, he wanted to ride in his better direction , he was just rusty but he was calm-really calm. Harley may not have been tuned up -that will take time -buts it’s ok bc this was more about me and getting out there and riding my horse. It was about feeling free , it was about realizing I can ride despite some physical issues, it was about my soul. Harley was just the friend who took me out to accomplish this. The one who reads my needs. He somehow knew to be patient with me /he’s not always patient but yesterday he was.-like I said very calm. Harley murmurs when he’s calm during a ride(think hmmph hmmph hmmph) and he got to that place pretty fast yesterday. Maybe it was bc I had no expectation for him. Maybe it bc he read something in me. I don’t know. But for 25 minutes it was he and I and we were flying free – no past-no future-just the moment. Now that’s a gift.

Thanks for reading.

(ps- thank you Kamilla Sweeney and Kevin Sweeney for all your help – you know when something is important for me – often when I don’t! – luv u both…)


Riding at last…wearing my ugly compression sleeve- but it works!!


Harley and I


This was us in 2009 before I brought him home to live in the backyard! He was boarded not to far from here.


Harley in a good frame- well- he does like to come up over the bit (means he isn’t loving the connection to the bit)but this wasn’t too bad!



Toweling Harley off – it wasn’t too hot thank gosh! The “farmer” man (my husband) was hanging with me.


Airy the freak in full gallop bc she had to wear that muzzle.. See her Arab tail?!


I did weaves with him which keeps him attentive to me bc I will be asking him to change direction often.



Heading back in…


We are doing a working walk in this picture- it is like a trot but Harley is gaited so his legs move laterally together making the gait very smooth to sit to.


Again more extended working walk…


I just liked this shot:)

I was missing something—now I know…

She was flying- her face showed she was happy and free. She was one with her horse and I felt it from where I was standing on the rail of the ring. I felt the freedom and the air and the fullness that you get when you are riding on the back of your horse. What i wasn’t expecting were the tears. My tears. I was trying to hide them from the crowd and from my husband. How silly it would be to be crying at an exhibition as I watched a young woman I didn’t even know ride her horse. But I felt it all inside me- that freedom – I wanted it – right then.

I have a horse-I have 2 in fact. The horse I ride is Harley – he’s about 15 or 16. I have had him for over 7 years now.  We have always been a work in progress – meaning we both need more lessons but he is still fun to ride without them. The sad thing is I haven’t been able to ride because of the residual effects of cancer treatments.  My shoulder and really my upper torso have been effected by the radiation. Its too long a story to explain but between radiation effects and further exacerbating it by shoveling ice I am a bit of a mess. I am constantly pursuing treatments that will fix the issue but the bottom line is I haven’t ridden since April or early May. Its been too long.

I am not sure I realized how much I missed riding until I saw that girl flying through the ring on her horse. She was an acrobatic rider so she stood for part of the ride on her horse and rode. The bond and trust that it takes to do that is very special. The horse and rider as one- it is amazing to see and touched a part of me that longs to just be riding my horse.  For a moment I thought how unfair it is that I cant ride. I cant do the a number of things and the frustration is getting worse.  I feel trapped with a body that is broken.  Sometimes it just really gets to me. But then I realize all I can do and that many disabled people would love to be able to do what I can do. So I change my attitude…and move on.  I am lucky and all isn’t lost. But I want to ride my horse – I want to feel the freedom that I saw the other night..I want to just be me on my horse for a few minutes…Anne and the horse- no cancer – no injuries–just me and my Harley…I didn’t know how bad i wanted it but now I want it so it must happen.

Will my PT therapist think its a good idea?  I don’t know. Maybe not…but if it makes me more sane and more happy then maybe it is ok to do it.  I’ll need lots of help tacking him up and getting up on him. But I want to try. I need to. I don’t like asking for help – its hard for me- and people here are busy but I have to get up on that horse. It hasn’t left my head since we were at the fair Tuesday night. I look at the photos I took and i remember how I felt.  I don’t need to stand on my horse to feel the freedom – the rush- the being at peace. I just need to be able to sit on him. Guide him along and lean forward and pat his neck. I want to feel like I am flying and free – just for a minute – free from the things that weigh me down…just me and my horse – and nothing else…

Thanks for reading…

Horse follows her out

Horse follows her out

Standing on horse

Standing on horse

Well what can I say about this?

Well what can I say about this?


Flying – Oh and  no saddle and she’s barefoot…awesome

Entering a photo contest part 3

Yesterday my husband asked me if I wanted to go check to see the results of the photography contest at the Howard County Fair. To be honest I wasn’t feeling great and I also wasn’t sure I was ready to see the results. I really thought I didn’t care if I got a ribbon or not but even though just entering the contest and getting everything together was really a win for me -I am super competitive. So I couldn’t just turn off the hope that I might get a ribbon. So I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go to look.

I realized I was only going to keep wondering so I decided to go look. My daughter, my husband and I drove the 25 minutes to the fairgrounds. We headed straight to the Fine Arts building. I stopped in the front to admire the cakes and the baked goods – yes I was stalling. The cakes were amazing though! My husband was already in back looking at the photos. My first picture we saw was my black and white landscape. No Ribbon but it was cool seeing my photo there. I stalled again looking at all of the other photos in that section and commenting in each one. My husband was already to the next section. When I walked up he pointed to a picture of icicles. There were a lot of icicles in the competition I had entered one but it was in the “other” category. The category we were looking at was “winter landscapes”. That icicle picture got second place. My daughter was trying to say something as we gazed at the icicles. I looked to the left to begin looking at other photos and OH MY GOD! My winter landscape photo was next to the icicles and it got a BLUE RIBBON. 1st place! What?

My mouth stood open, my eyes bugged out and the tears began. I mean a ribbon of any sort would have been great but a blue one? Really? It had to sink in. I took a minute. We took a picture of it. Then we moved on. We looked for my three other pictures and I didn’t get a ribbon for those but I had gotten a first place already anything more may have sent me over the edge!  The ribbon was completely unexpected. I was ecstatic inside. The competition was amazing and I am glad I wasn’t a judge. How do you choose? I don’t know but I’m sure glad they chose mine. We went back to take another picture with me next to it. My husband immediately posted it on Facebook. It’s so nice to have your spouse be so happy and excited for you. He is the king of support. That is the ultimate blessing.

I hadn’t realized how lost I had been until I saw that ribbon. Getting the entries together seemed a large task and lately so many things overwhelm me. I used to be able to entertain for 20 or more people with no problem. Now to consider that seems impossible. So many things I used to do easily have seemed too much to even try now. I try to break things down into pieces to get a project done -and that is what I did with the pictures. I chose them – ordered them- ordered matting supplies – matted them- entered them. Each was a a task and after I did each part it seemed less overwhelming and actually fun.

The photo that won was taken after one of our nasty ice storms last March. We went out to clean up trees and I wasn’t going to be much muscle bc of my shoulder issues so I grabbed the Nikon. I hadn’t been using it much. I remember the shot well bc i had been taking pictures back towards the fields and I walked out into the field to photograph my boys at work. I turned to go back and the sun was setting and the sky and colors were amazing. I stood there looking and then realized I needed to take a picture of it bc it wouldn’t last. I snapped away and was so happy when I came inside to download the photos and saw this amazing light in that shot. It was the shot of the day. Sometimes you get only one -sometimes some- and sometimes none. Since I hadn’t been using the camera much I was very happy with this result. I had no idea that in a few months I would be entering it in the fair as I had forgotten all about my desire that I had gotten last summer when we were visiting the fine arts building. Thankfully it all came back to me just a couple weeks before the entires were due. Since I hadn’t taken too many DSLR photos in the last year it wasn’t hard to settle on that shot. But we almost didn’t enter it! We took it to the fair but it was between that and my dogs eyes. I love that shot. But my husband said to enter the winter landscape -it was his favorite he said. So I entered it -and– it –won —- first place!! I just can’t believe it! I am just so grateful! And happy!

Do I stop now? I got a first place – how can that be topped? Will doing less than first in another contest be a let down? I don’t think so – I hope not because the Great Frederick Fair is coming up. I think I’d like to try to see how I would do in that one. I would not enter my winning one though. I’m going to retire that one to my wall. It reached it’s pinnacle. But I know photographer Anne is back and this is only the beginning for me.

Thanks for reading!


My shot and the icicles we were staring at when we first came to the section!


Some of the entries!


More entries- I LOVE the shot is lower down (I didn’t get it in the picture) I never thought to enter a chicken picture- maybe because I have so many I have become numb to them- so maybe I will enter one in another contest the one here got second!


…and more entries… there were a lot!


Um yea- my husband wanted this shot! 🙂

entering a photo contest part 2

On Thursday I officially entered five of my photos in a local county fair contest. I bought mattes and I’m glad I did as much of the competition that I saw that day had mattes too. It was only required to mount the photos on 11×14 board but I had a feeling I should get the mattes that were precut. They look nicer being matted.

There is quite a bit of competition and I saw some nice photos there. it’s fun being part of it this year.

Today is Day 1 of the fair. They will keep the Fine Arts building closed for the day to judge. Tomorrow they open it with all the awards given. My husband asked if I wanted to go tomorrow to see if I win anything. We normally go early in the week. I might wait until then. I’d love to win a ribbon but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m just glad I entered. It’s brought a little of the spark back – I needed that.

Here are the photos I entered. The represent 5 categories. BW landscape, still life w no insect, winter landscape, farm animal, and other. ( the icicles are in the other category). :






I’m tethered and I like it

You know you are tethered to your smartphone when you start looking for an email button on a ten plus year old electronic Yahtzee. I did that – yeah I did. It’s the gold electronic Yahtzee by the way. I think they are extinct. I should have bought ten and saved them way back when. I love electronic Yahtzee. Anyway I was playing it in the bathroom -sometimes mom just needs quiet time – and I checked for the mail button. I don’t take the cell phone into the bathroom. I’m afraid it might get wet -or worse-fall into the commode ( better word than toilet?) But apparently I miss it- I miss the phone.

When I looked for the email button on that gold and red device I laughed out loud. What is up with that? Then I thought “crap Anne you really are tethered to that cell phone”.

I yell at my son for spending hours on his phone playing games. It drives me nuts. I’ve written about it. I’ve tried to limit it but then I get a moody teen. In the fall I will limit it when they are back to school. I am really not setting a good example. I’m with my phone all the time-except in the bathroom but even then it’s outside the door. Once in a while I will go to workout in our gym and I leave it in my room. When the weekend comes I try to leave it alone while I’m home. But if I go out it’s part of me. We are friends my phone and I. Oh and I have a Kindle too.

I’m not going to pretend I’m feeling badly about it. I’m not. I love technology and I love what these devices do. I’m not going to tell you I’m going to give myself a break away from it. Nope. I’ll continue to check it at midnight or 3am if I wake up. It’s always next to my bed and the Kindle sits next to me earphone ready if I need to watch a show in the middle of the night.

Once in a while I run out of the house to take a kid someplace and I realize I forgot my cell phone. If I’m only going a short distance and won’t be gone long I’ll go and just come back without the phone. But if I realize I forgot the phone and am going to be out for a good while or if I am going far I’ll turn back and go home and get it. I’m anxious without it. I have anxiety issues and I think having the phone with makes me feel like help is near if I need it. If you have an anxiety disorder you might get this. So I hardly ever forget it as it’s on the checklist in my head as I walk out the door.

So I’m not the best example for my child. But in my defense just because the phone is near me doesn’t mean I’m on it all the time. I’m not a gamer like my kid. I’m not even on Facebook all the time. I do take a break from that even if the phone is next to me. But I know it’s a real part of me when I look for a email button on my ancient Electronic Yahtzee Gold.

Yes I’m tethered to my phone (and Kindle) and I like it. It could be worse I think -right? (At least It’s not booze)…

Thanks for reading.