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Friday, June 12, 2015

Life of a Swim Parent

It's swim season, and it's crazy around here.  We have meets every weekend, and some like this past one are three straight days in a row.  Monday-Friday consists of driving your kid(s) everyday to practice.  2 1/2 hours everyday between both girls.

We do love swim meets, we really do.  But......  they also do really suck.  They are long and hot and boring.  For those that have never done swim team, this is a taste of how a typical summer swim meet goes.

Night before: check the website to see what Brian and I are supposed to be volunteering for.  We have to volunteer a certain number of shifts during the season or they cash a hefty volunteer deposit check.   Volunteer positions range anywhere from selling concessions, to ribbon writing, to timing.  The good and easy positions go fast on sign-ups, so sometimes you're stuck with something awful like working the ready bench (aka corralling wet, rowdy unattentive swimmers in an orderly fashion so they are swimming in the right race,in the right lane at the right time.  aka NOT FUN.)

Morning: Wake up at the butt crack of dawn, 5:30 to be exact.  ON a SATURDAY!  That should be illegal.  Don't people remember the Sabbath!  I think it says somewhere in old scriptures "Thou shall sleep until noon on Saturday."

We then hurry up to get as much crap together as possible: goggles, swim caps, towels, water bottles, Gatorades, sunscreen, toys to keep kids entertained, food, camp chairs, wagon to carry all the camp chairs, a twelve foot canopy, sunglasses, kids, more food.  It's practically like we're camping, minus the wonderful night campfires, the open wilderness to let your kids run around like the loons they are, and of course, the s'mores.

It's guaranteed that we are going to forget something.  Usually it's cash for concessions.  We'll address that issue later.

So why don't you pack the night before, you might ask.  Uh huh, doesn't work.

So here we are trying to get out the door and the get car loaded like a game of Tetris, and it's 6:55.  Check in is at 7:00.  Do we make it?  Nope.  We are running behind, stuffing whatever "breakfast" item we can shove into our mouths.  Cold pizza or a spoonful of peanut butter anyone?

Check-in: this is mighty dandy.  We're dragging chairs and wagons, coolers, and toys across a morning dewy grass.  Dewy makes it sound pleasant.  What it really is, is wet, sticky, blades of grass that bog you down while you're trying to drag 100 pounds behind you.  Simultaneously, we're yelling at our girls to hurry up and check in with their coaches.  The weather is nice and cool, but we can't be fooled.  In T minus 90 minutes the blazing sun is in the cloudless sky, beating down on us with no remorse.  We have a 12 foot canopy and chairs that we spend twenty minutes setting up; but it stands lonely as we stand for hours under no shade, doing something like timing.  We become rather jealous and bitter with the swimmers because they get to swim and we don't.  You start to do crazy stuff like try to stand really close to the stranger timing next to you, just to stand in their shadow.  And then get really excited when a swimmer splashes a little too much just so your ankles can feel a little relief.

Meet time: A typical swim meet lasts 5-6 hours.  Sometimes less, but usually longer.  The girls only have 8 events total.  That means in the 6 hours of the meet, and 150+ races, the girls actually only swim for a total of about 5 minutes.  The other times they are usually resting.  This means playing games, eating, playing games, eating, playing on electronics, or at the ready bench waiting to swim.  Jack swims 0 minutes.  That means he has to be entertained for 6 hours.  He does a lot of eating.  He also whines to play with my phone, wants me to carry him, and just outright acts like a three year old.  How dare him. There's usually a playground near by, but that's off limits.  There's a pool to swim in, but that to if off limits.  I do have to say, it probably really sucks for a three year old.  There are usually snow cones at the concessions, but Mom and Dad forgot to pull cash out the ATM.

After the swim meet, usually about 2 pm you are hot and sweaty and tired.  Guess what, you have to take all that s*&* down and haul it back to your 120 degree car and play Tetris all over again.  Except this time we don't care much if we lose the game.  Some kid will just have to have a chair poking them in the head on the way home.  We consider it paybacks for something they did to annoy you at the meet.  Loading the car is usually accompanied by a VERY tired three year old, crying in harmony with a VERY tired six year old.  No worries though, the three year old is usually asleep by the time you pull out of the driveway.  This small act shows me that God really does have mercy.

Your body doens't know quite what to do with itself on the way home.  You've got your face plastered up the AC vent trying to get relief from the smothering heat.  Your body says tired, but your brain says let's party.  After all, you had a cup of coffee, a Diet Coke,   and two Monsters to keep you going.  Because of all the caffeine, you had to use those awful, hot, chlorine smelling, wet bathrooms, that always seem to be out of handsoap or paper towels.

Back home: unload all the stuff and carry forty pounds of dead weight to bed.  You have a huge mental battle with yourself....either clean out all the bags now even though you want a nap, or don't.  The consequence is dealing with a bunch of mildew towels later.  Nap usually wins.

So, do we love swim meets?  YES
Do we hate swim meets?  YES

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Sticky Situation

My three year old is determined to give me a heart attack.  Two days ago I noticed Jack's mouth was full of something.  He opened his mouth to show me what it was and it was a HUGE wad of gum.  It looked like he had twenty pieces of gum in his mouth.  I'm sure you can imagine.  Sticky slobber oozing out of the corners of his mouth, and his mouth slowly opening and closing as he's trying to chew a whole package of gum.  He tries to confirm what I already know by telling me what it is.  As he says "gum," more drool falls out.  I freak out because I know he has no intention of just chewing it; he swallows every piece of gum that he gets.  I'm just picturing this huge golfball of stickiness stuck in his stomach for seven years.  I know, I know, that's not true, but still.....  And that's if he doesn't choke on it first.  I'm thinking to myself, it's a good thing Halle and I just did a CPR refresher course this week.

He spits it into my hand, juicy gum slobber and all.  Where did he get gum?

I then remembered that Halle got a whole POUND of Sour Patch gum from her friend.  I had told her when she first got it that she needed to put it out of her brother's reach.  So I start yelling at Halle.  "Your brother could have choked!  I told you to keep it away from him!"  She's telling me that she did by placing it up high on her bookshelf.  She walks into her room.  This is what she finds:  one stool on top of another stool.  I'm guessing he tried to reach with the first stool, and couldn't, so he put another one on top of that!!!!  As you can see, the mother load of gum is sitting on the first shelf, and on the stools lies an open and empty package.  Then I start freaking out (again) thinking of all the ways he could have broken his bones climbing up there... or how the whole bookshelf could have fallen on him.

So today I was doing some laundry and pulled a load of clothes out of the dryer.  There was this super icky residue completely and utterly STUCK to every square inch of my dryer's drum.  What in the world is it?  Turns out Jack had some more pieces in his shorts pockets that I did not know about.  Those wonderful treasures coated the whole dryer and probably the whole load of clothes (I haven't checked them yet because I'm too scared to look.)

doesn't that look like a whole lot of fun to clean?
Thankfully Halle wanted to see what she could find that would clean it.  She spent a solid twenty minutes wiping out the dryer.

So, if you ever need to get gum out of your dryer, you'll need a dry rag, a bunch of windex, and a whole lot of elbow grease.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Never a Dull Moment

I know it's a part of life, but something is always breaking!   It's like we never have a break from the breaking!  Hmmm, let's see.  I'll just go over the things from the last 8 months or so that I can remember.  :)    This list doesn't include the routine maintenance annoyances like having to buy new ink for the printer or new water filters for the fridge.... or the things that we just deal with because it's the last thing we want to worry about (like the small leak from my bathroom faucet.) It also doesn't include the kids that keep me on my toes or the major expenditures that they accrue (like Jack breaking our TV or paying $500 for summer swim league.) No, these are random unplanned, poorly timed things that have required some serious effort or $$$$ to fix, or both.

The pool had a leak.

We fixed that only to find out there was another leak by the waterfall.

The pool hose then needed to be replaced.

Our hot water heater went out.

The electrical panel went out on my van.

Pool chlorinator broke.

Brian's leaf blower broke.

Printer broke.

Something happened to Brian's car (can't remember, but it had to be fixed.)

All of the massive amounts of rain has caused a small lake to form in our backyard.  There is no where for the water to drain because our french drain system was overridden by the new construction behind us.  There are bullfrogs galore that have taken up residence in our backyard as a result.  Not to mention the mosquitoes.

Hail storm has done major damage on our roof.

My teeth suck.  That's a whole other sob story.

Computer screen cracked so bad it's almost unusable.

Transmission in my van went out.  They fixed it and before they could return it to me, it went out again.

Pool pump broke.

Our dog died.

The back brakes went out on my van this weekend.  Those had to be replaced.

So what spurred on this post?  Well, probably the fact that I just soaked up a gallon of water from under my kitchen sink from a leaky faucet!!!

Just when we save enough money for something special, something freaking breaks!!!  I'm at a point now that I just laugh when it happens because there's nothing else I can do!

I'm happy to be alive and I know we are very blessed.  But..... if you feel like one thing after another keeps breaking, know we're right there with ya!!

Jack's recent milestones

Jack has grown by leaps and bounds the last two months.  He's talking so much more and putting together 7-8 words sentences.  He's interested in learning his letters, too!  Before, I would start singing the ABCs, and he would yell, "Stop, Ma!"  We progressed to him saying "A, B, X."  Then he would laugh because he knew he was being silly.  Stinker.  Now we are up to G!  He recognizes almost all of the letters and even knows sounds, so I just have to be patient with him.  The girls were sooo easy when it came to this stuff.  They were in the early stages of reading by his age, but he's just a different character.  
He is observant and can take apart and put things back together.  He likes to tinker.  He likes for things to be orderly, almost to a point where he is OCD about it.  My favorite thing he says lately is, "I got it!  I got it!"  This is in reference to him taking care of something like opening the door for me or bringing the trash can up the driveway.  He's my little man.

He is super smart, but is just so much slower in the language department.  He is getting there, though!

he is practicing his letters

other than the first one, these are his Js.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Arden's recent school stuff

Arden has been doing really well at school.  Other than one incident where she got in trouble for talking to her friend, she has had no conduct issues.  This is very surprising to me considering how much she talks.  And talks.  And talks. 

The top picture is from a kindergarten perfomance the kids put on.  The poem below that is what she recited for a grade in her class.  Everyone in the school had to recite a poem, and the top two kids of each class went on to recite for the school.  She was one of the kids selected from her class!  She practiced hard and did an excellent job.  She spoke loudly, didn't wiggle, and made great eye contact during the times I saw her rehearsing.  I asked her if she was nervous when she got up to say it and she said no, not at all.  She likes public speaking and she says it's easy.  What a great gift to have; I still blush when I have to talk in front of people!  Her original poem was about basketball, but the teacher didn't allow it because it had one slightly inappropriate line in it.  Oh well....  She didn't win for her grade, but I'm still very proud of her for doing her best.

She also got an art award saying that some of her artwork is on display at the district's instructional center.  We're going to swing by there next week to see what it is, because she had no clue one of her art pieces got chosen. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bye bye wisdom teeth!

Every dentist I've ever had has told me I needed to get my wisdom teeth taken out.  They were impacted and causing crowding and other problems.  This Wednesday I finally had them removed.  My oral surgeon told me there was a good chance that I would lose feeling in my lower jaw because I'd waited so long.  See, the roots of the teeth had grown and were embedded in the nerves of my jaw.  Thankfully, though, I didn't lose any feeling!

This is me looking like a chipmunk, as if my cheeks aren't chubby enough.  My right side is worse since the top and bottom were taken out from that side.  My top one was way up there, growing toward my ear, and practically in my sinus cavity!  STUPID teeth.  I'm so glad they are finally out.


The day of the hail storm we had a crawfish boil.  Together with our neighbors we had a total of 80 pounds of crawfish.

We had a few mishaps (in addition to the hail.)  BJ, our pool guy, is also Craig's brother in law.  Craig is our neighbor from Louisiana that we had the boil with.  BJ brought his dog, a boxer named Roxy, over to the crawfish boil.  We had "pantyhose chicken" sitting on the table waiting to be boiled.  Basically it's a bunch of chicken that you stuff into a pantyhose (to keep it all together) and throw into the boil so it can pick up all the cajun flavors.  It's really good for the people that don't like crawfish.  Roxy jumped onto the table and took off with the pantyhose full of raw chicken.  She was so sneaky that we didn't notice until she was ripping it open in the yard.  The only thing that saved the chicken was Parker, our cat.  He was passing by so Roxy forgot the chicken and chased after Parker!  Haha!

There were some other funny things that happened, but honestly I can't remember because I have brain fog from all the medicine I'm on right now (wisdom teeth surgery).

We had to cut the whole crawfish peeling and eating short because the storm came on suddenly.  I spent two hours peeling the remainder of the crawfish (about forty pounds) that we didn't eat so I could make some dishes with it.  I've never made either dish, but I used the crawfish tails to make etoufee and crawfish fettucini.  They were both delicious!