Among our visitors this summer was our first-ever cousin sleepover with two of the girls' eight California cousins. The girls have never stayed over before, but we were blessed with nearly a week of their company at the peak of summer. Fortunately, it's hot where they live, too, and the call of the horses, tree swing and crafting with cousins won out over ridiculously high temperatures here.
When the older asked when she should be up to go ride, I said, "The earlier the better." We wanted to beat the heat, and in mid-August, temps hit 90 by 9 a.m. Having NO idea that she was a morning person, I told her 7:30 would be fine, though 6:30 would be better.
I rose at 6:30 that first morning JUST in case she was up. Not only was she UP, she was DRESSED and ready to head out the door. So was her little sister. So, down to the horses we went. The older woke every morning at 6:30 for rides. Little Sis slept in two days. Understandably so given that the sleepover bedtime rule at our house is "if I don't hear you, I don't know you're awake." This leads to VERY late nights.
The girls, who don't have a lot of riding experience, stuck to the pasture when they rode on their own. They both used the Old Lady who really needed some time practicing standing. The girls learned to be more assertive with her, and spent hours walking in circles, squares, picking points of interest and walking to them, stopping on command, making rough figure eights and standing. Just standing. That's right. But it was a lesson all needed to learn. Later in the week, I mounted up on our younger mare and we took trail rides around the property.
By day, the girls played, read, sang, cooked, swam at Creston Pool and, ultimately, ran short of ideas so asked if they could paint me. Why not? It was 109 outside. I didn't need to keep doing chores. And how often do kids get a chance to use their parent/auntie as a canvas? Of course, some of the girls also served their time in the "easel chair."
It was SO fun having them, and fantastic to see my girls enjoying some super quality cousin time. I can hardly wait to have them over again! Did it help to have the older text me "BAE?" Not at first. But then she spelled it out for me: "Best Auntie Ever." awwww!