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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Building character? But I thought we were swimming!

The kids had another swim meet yesterday.  They each swam in 5 events.

Sarah was doing the first 25 meters of her 50 meter freestyle (an event she usually does okay in even though there are several year round swimmers on our team that beat her every time) and was about 3 quarters of the way down the pool.

I noticed that she was rolling over way to far.  I could tell she was struggling to get her breath.  As she approached where I was standing, I could see a pained look on her face.

She finally made it to the wall and instead of touching it and going back down to the other end of the pool to complete her 50 meters, she stopped.  The swim coach was telling her to breathe, catch her breath, calm down and GO!  I was standing on the side poised and ready to step in and pull her out.  That's what moms do, right? 

Sarah took some deep breaths and headed down the pool to finish her event.

I have never been more proud of this girl in my life.

When she was done, she hopped out of the pool, and came running over to me.  Her face was crumpled up in the beginnings of a cry.

I took a breath and hoped that the right words came out.

"Sarah!  That was awesome!  I am so proud of you. It looked like you were choking on water and couldn't get your breath but you did not quit.  You kept right on going and I am more proud of you at this moment than if you had won!"  And I meant that too.

"Really, Mama?"  She asked looking up at me.  Her face began to break out into a smile.  She finished the rest of her events and  at bedtime, asked me to tell her again what I said at the pool.  So I went through it all again and she said, "I'm going to remember this for when I'm a mom and have a kid that wants to quit! That will be a great story won't it?"

"Yes, baby.  Yes it will."

Peter has such pretty strokes.  He always looks nice and calm when he's swimming - he doesn't splash around wildly. He just looks nice.  Even his butterfly. 

Unfortunately, Peter has two speeds - slow and slower.  But that's just my sweet Peter.  He swims like he lives.  On his own schedule and at his own pace.  He says he thinks he's going fast, but it just never translates that way in a race.

He swam his butterfly beautifully last night but came in 5th out of 5 swimmers.  He was dejected because he was hoping that the butterfly was going to be his stroke.  The stroke he might actually be able to win a ribbon with. 

Before bed he dejectedly said, "I was horrible in the swim meet."

"Did you work as hard as you could practices we have been to since the last meet all week?"


"Did you swim as hard as you could?


"Did you have fun at the swim meet?"


"Then you had a great swim meet and I am proud of you!  You just started doing the butterfly so you just need to work harder on it."

"Okay Mama. I will."

And I am proud of Peter. Because I know from experience, how hard it is to keep doing something when you know you aren't very good at it or when you know your friends are really good at it. 

I just hope he sticks with it and doesn't quit.  I would love for him to have a great story to tell his kids too!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Quack! Quack! Quack!

Last Tuesday the kids had another swim meet. Their team, the Ducks, won again!

Sarah did well in freestyle and back stroke and tried breast stroke for the first time. She got DQ'd for messing up her kicking but that's okay because she was thrilled just to get a chance to try it at a meet.

Peter did a good job in freestyle and back stroke also but he is slow. He approaches swimming just like he does everything else in life - at his own speed. BUT - he swam butterfly and DID NOT get DQ'd like last year and came in 3rd! We were so excited for him! Since he is not a fast swimmer in the other strokes, he rarely places so high.

It was a great meet and we are looking forward to tomorrow's meet.Here are a few shots I took:

Sarah waiting her turn.

Sarah and Cheyanne waiting and cheering.

My BFF Jennifer drew the Duck logo on the kids backs.  Aren't they cute?

Peter doing freestyle.

Sarah doing back stroke.

Peter doing butterfly.

Sarah doing freestyle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

There's always tomorrow. Or maybe September.

I had great expectations for my blog this summer.  I was going to post every day without fail whether or not I had adorable pictures or interesting topics or quirky quotes from my kids. 

I was going to write just to write.  Because somewhere, deep inside, I feel like I'm a writer with words that need to escape, with phrases that need to be turned, with stories that want to be told.

I may feel this way, but unfortunately I am without the one most important thing that is needed for all writers- - novelists, bloggers or even Facebook status updaters - and that's time.

I'm up by 6:00 every  morning.  I head out for a run and because I'm so slow, even three miles takes me around 45 minutes.  Then it's in the shower because here in the south, even at 6:15 AM, it's hot and muggy and even a slow runner like me ends up a sweaty mess.

Then I sit down at my desk and I read the Bible.  And then I log onto Facebook and usually right in the middle of checking to see who has posted a picture of their cat sleeping or their kid winning a ribbon or the gorgeous view from their vacation rental, Peter comes down from his room with a quiet "Good morning, Mama."  And then impatiently says, "Can I have computer now?"  And because I'm a sucker for a sweet hug at 7:30 in the morning from my little one who is quickly becoming a big one, I oblige and head to the rickety laptop in the kitchen. (It is an ancient model that is dieing a slow and painful death.)

And it is from there that I decide I don't really care who's doing what on Facebook and pick up my cell phone because it's buzzing with activity.  I have lots of words to play on Words With Friends.

Then, I look up at the clock and realize that we need to be at swim practice in 45 mintues.  I rush upstairs to wake Sleeping Beauty.  My sweet Sarah will sleep till noon if you let her.  I shovel cereal into the kids, rush them into their swim suits and out the door and then next thing I know, it's bedtime.

And the awarding winning post that was swirling around in my head has vanished.  What was I going to write about this morning,  I think to myself at 9:00 PM. Oh well.  Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A little pampering, a little Chick-Fil-A and a lot of girl time.

All Sarah wanted for her friend birthday party was to "have a long play date with just Brooke".

Brooke is a friend from Sarah's school.  Sarah and Brooke have become good friends through the school year.

I treated the girls to manicures and pedicures.  Their favorite part of the pampering?  The vibrating chairs.  I think they would have been happy to sit in the chairs all day long.

After the mani/pedis we went to lunch at Chick-Fil-A and then the girls spent the rest of the day swinging on the play set, bouncing on the trampoline and playing upstairs.

At the end of the day, the girls hugged and decided they needed another play date very soon.

I think we can make that happen!

Friday, June 15, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

Is it really Friday?  Feels more like a Tuesday or a Sunday but not a Friday.  As a stay-at-home mom, during the school year I have a really hard time during the week remembering what day it is.  But during summer vacation? Forget about it.

Since I think it's Friday, that means it's time for 7 Quick Takes:

1.  Sarah had her first swim meet yesterday.  Here's the one picture that I took:

It's Sarah and Cheyanne after they completed all of their events.  They both did a great job and it was just the best afternoon.  There was a breeze blowing and I got to spend 7 hours with my BFF!  That hasn't happened in ages - it felt just like old times before she decided to go and open a Vet practice with her husband. 

2. Dan and Peter are camping with the Cub Scouts and I am assuming they are having a great time.  I haven't heard from them since Wednesday night.  Dan's cell phone gets horrible reception under the best of conditions (like in our house) so out in the wilderness he gets none.

3.  Sarah is playing with her best friend from school right now and we are about to leave for pedicures and manicures.  There has been nonstop squealing and giggling since 9:00 am.  Sort of reminds me of me and Jennifer yesterday afternoon!  heehee

4. Since the kids are out of school, I get to do my running at 6:30 am. I want to do a 10k in the fall.  I think I better start looking for one to do and sign up for it.  I find that I run better with a goal.

5. I guess my Quick Takes are really quick today because I'm not going to make it to number 7.

Check out Jennifer at Conversion Diary.  She always has 7.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

If at first you don't succeed...try again four years later!

After this fiasco 4 years ago, we thought we would try again.

We got Sarah a trampoline for her birthday and so far, so good.

Here are a few pictures:

This was right after Dan got it all set up.

Doing flips...

And another flip...

And splits...

And another split...

Look at all that hair!  I think it might be time for a trim!
Look at these pictures of my babies 4 years ago after Dan set up the trampoline.  They look so big now!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We've made it half-way through unscathed! (The first week that is.)

Well, we are officially half-way through the first week of summer vacation.

Morning swim practices don't start until next week so we've been waiting until the evenings to go to the pool and since it's been rainy we've  been getting there right in time for evening practice.

I'm looking forward to next week when we can get there early, eat lunch there and stay for a while.  These pale legs need some sun!

Peter and Dan are heading to Cub Scout camp this evening so Peter will miss the first swim meet of the season tomorrow.  But don't feel bad for him - he would much rather be camping with Daddy.  And don't feel bad for me - I would much rather  be sleeping in my bed, with sheets and mattresses and pillows and air conditioning and a toilet within a few feet of my bed.

Sarah has lots of things planned for me while the boys are gone.  She wants to go out to eat with just me.  And she wants to have a movie night.  I think I can handle these items! 

Her friend from school, Brooke, is coming for an all day play date on Friday and as a special treat, I'm taking them to get their nails done.  This was Sarah's exact request last year for her friend birthday party.  The only difference this year is that it is a a different friend.  Even with mani/pedi's for the girls it is still a very, very cheap birthday party!  (And the best part?  The mani/pedi is the favor!) 

Well, here' hoping the second half of the first week of summer vacation goes as smoothly as the first!  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let them eat cake!

Sarah turned 8 on June 4th and my Dad turned 70 on June 7th.  And my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary on June 9th.  Needless to say, we've eaten a lot of cake around here lately!

Here is a picture of my sweet father and his cake:

And here's a picture of Sarah's cake.  When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted she told me white with white frosting and that she wanted to decorate it.  I made the cake from a mix but I did make homemade butter cream frosting.  I bought a bunch of icing gel pens and she went to work and created a very cute and sparkly angel.  I think it turned out great!

(You can't see it very well in the picture but the angel's wings are a sparkly white gel and the writing says Happy Birthday to Sarah.)

 Sarah got some new roller skates from my mom and dad!

 My mom gave Peter a Rubik's Cube so he would have something to open too.  She's so sweet!

My sister-in-law gave Sarah a pogo stick.  It's going to take some practice but I think she will get the hang of it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A nice way to celebrate the end of a great school year.

We made it through the end of the school year and now we can focus on summer.

To celebrate great report cards and all the hard work my kids did this year, we took them to a special dinner on Friday night.

We went to a Japanese steak house.  The kids have been to one only once before (and it was so long ago that they really don't even remember it) so we thought this would be a special way to mark the end of the school year.  Plus this particular restaurant was near their school so it seemed very fitting.

Here is a quick picture I snapped with my cell phone of Dan and the kids:

The kids asked if we could do this again next year if they had another good year.  I think we can handle that!

I just love these little people (and the big one too) and I'm looking forward to spending  summer vacation with them.    ...she says on day one of a 74 day summer vacation...  :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Cub Scout Amazing Race

Last weekend after the Mud Run, we attended Peter's Cub Scout Amazing Race.  It's their big end-of-year shindig where the boys are teamed up and compete against one another in different obstacles.  It's always a lot of fun.  This year was no different except all of the events had water in them.

Peter's team didn't finish very well but he still had a good time.  Here are a few pictures:

And please take a look at  the last two pictures and compare them to the previous ones.  Note the bright colors, the water droplets frozen in air.  Sadly, I must admit I did not take these two.  Although, in my defense, the man that took them had a lens that was at least 3 times the size of mine and had one of those flowery looking things on the end of it. 

Yes.  That's right. I'm blaming the lens and not the operator.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

She thought she could. So she did. Part 2.

Back to the story...

We finally made it through the traffic jam - about 25 minutes to go 1 mile.  And then we finally parked.  And we finally figured out where we were supposed to go. 

They started the race in waves to insure that everyone didn't get bunched up at the obstacles.  The "real" runners started in the first wave.  And by "real" I mean people that were actually competing for awards. There were 4 waves all together and because Jennifer and I signed up late (thanks to my unwillingness to want to participate) we ended up in the 4th wave.  Which was fine because all the slow people were in the 4th wave.  Well, the slow runners and the late signer-uppers!

The starting gun for the 4th wave finally went off and we took off running.  The start of the race was a very large hill.  We made it up that with no problem and then the fun began.  In very short order, we were running through the woods, over streams, through streams, up muddy hills, up very muddy very high embankments with ropes, under ropes on our knees through streams, over wooden wall obstacles, up more get the picture.

And finally, when we thought we could take no more - we reached the end of the course.  A giant, muddy "river" that the Marines created just to watch us get dirty.  But to me, that was the best part because it signaled the end.  We made it!  I did it!  (And I didn't get hurt!)

The second best part to me was the very large embankment wall with ropes.  The ropes were there to help you as you tried to climb up this steep hill/embankment. It was probably 20 feet high.  The Marines had gotten it real wet so it was nice and muddy and slippery.  But they were very kind to post ropes at the top of it. 

At the bottom, you grabbed a rope and started for the top.  I used every bit of strength I had to hold on the rope because my feet were getting no traction.  I was able to use tree branches and roots to get some leverage with my feet.  I was determined not to be one of the people that were sliding down the mud back to the bottom of the hill. 

I only really had trouble with one obstacle.  It was a very high wooden wall and for the life of me I could not jump up high enough to get over it.  It was about 7 or 8 feet high.  But a nice Marine gave me a little nudge and I was able to grab the top of the wall and propel myself over and down. 

After our made it through our 3.1 miles of fun, it was time for the kids Pollywog race.  My intent was for Dan to do it with them, but they were running on the actual course we just finished and he wasn't exactly dressed for it.  Jennifer and I were afraid that Sarah and Cheyanne wouldn't make it through the final mud pit so we did it with them.

Yay!  Because what do I want to do after I finish 3.1 miles of mud and obstacles?  Run another mile in mud and obstacles, of course.

But I'm glad we ran it with them.  It was so great to see them doing some of these same obstacles.  The kids had zero problem going up the rope wall.  I guess it's because the don't weigh very much.  And they loved running through the streams and in the all the mud. I was so proud of all of our kids!

In fact, at the end of it, they all asked, "When can we do this again?!"

I'm glad Jennifer got me to go outside of my comfort zone to do something I was a little (maybe a lot) afraid to do. 

She asked me if we were going to do it again next spring.  I told her I would do the Mud Run again with her in the spring if she did a 10k with me in the fall! 

Because, hey, what are friends for?

Jennifer and I finished the race in 51:55 which put us 1099 and 1100 out of the 1640 individual racers that completed the race.  In my age group (40-49) I finished 94th out of 155.  Not bad! 

I would also like to add that there were a total of 1804 individual racers (I guess not everyone finished) and there were another 1760 racers that ran in teams after we finished and a total of 400 pollywogs.  That's a lot of crazy people!

Here we are going through the final mud pit.  Please note the Marine stationed in the mud to yell at everyone!

Here I am with Sarah and Cheyanne as we were entering the mud pit.

Peter in the mud!

At this point, I was holding the girls because I was afraid they were going to slip under the mud. (Look at the sheer joy on their faces!)

So proud of all of us!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

She thought she could. So she did.

She thought she could.  So she did.

I first came across this quote when I started running 2 years ago.  Every morning as I was pounding the pavement trying to get my flabby legs and under worked lungs into shape, I kept repeating this quote over and over. And then Jennifer and I did our first 5k.

In the two years since, we have done several more 5ks and I was planning to train and run a 10k this spring.  But then I strained my knees and have been running very slowly just to keep in shape - not necessarily training for anything.

I felt very defeated.  I wanted to run a 10k and here I was slogging my way through 2 and 3 mile runs several times a week.

But then Jennifer steps in and starts talking up the Marine Mud Run.  She mentioned the Mud Run last year and I told her there was no way I was doing it.  Unh-uh.  No way in h-e-double-toothpicks I was running through mud and obstacles and mud. I came up with an excuse and got out of it last year.

Jennifer is very stubborn though and continued to ask me again and again this year.  And I could really think of no reason not to do it except that I was nervous about it, so I finally gave in.  I thought to myself, well, if I can't do a 10k this spring, at least I can try the Mud Run.

I checked out their website and read this, "Some come to compete, others come to complete."  And I was sold.  My goal was going to be just to finish this damn Mud Run and get Jennifer off my back.  And for two weeks, I kept thinking to myself, She thought she could.  So she did.

I must admit, I was extremely nervous leading up to this event.  I was not really prepared physically.  I knew I could run the 3 miles - that would be no problem - it would be the obstacles I was going to have to go over and under that I figured would give me trouble.  I told Jennifer she would have to haul me over some of them and she said she was okay with that.  I figure she's younger than me and she's forcing me to do this so it's the least she could do!

Oh and while we were at it, we signed the kids up to run the 1 mile Pollywog course.  Unlike me, they were thrilled at the thought of running through mud. They were actually looking forward to it.  Some where along the way between signing up and the actual race, I began to look forward to it too.  (In hindsight, maybe I was just looking forward to getting it over with but none the less, I was looking forward to it.)

I was up at 4:45 AM on Saturday.  I drank my two cups of coffee and took a shower.  I know, it's totally ridiculous that I took a shower before a mud run, but I hate to go anywhere without a shower! 

We were on the road by 6:45.  Less than a mile away from our house, a car started to pull out in front of us and we had to slam on the breaks to keep from hitting it.  Great, I though.  I'm going to die before I even get to this stupid Mud Run.)

The run took place in Pinnacle, NC near Pilot Mountain. We were about 1 mile from the exit we needed to take to get off the highway and we came over the crest of a small hill and traffic was backed up from the exit to where we were.  Dan had to slam on the breaks once again.  People were slamming on breaks and running off the highway just to avoid hitting all of the cars that were at a complete stop trying to get to the Mud Run.  My heart was racing and I wasn't even out of the car yet.  And at this point, I was wishing I was back home in my bed.

To be continued...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eight Is...

Eight is...


Eight is Beautiful!

Eight loves to...
Write stories
Sing at the top of her lungs
Play her piano
Go to school
Talk and talk and talk
Eat ice cream
Play in her room when she should be sleeping
Know at night what she's going to be doing the next day
Do cartwheels

Oh, how I love sweet Eight!  
Happy Birthday, Sarah