April Fools

My morning ritual consists of two things.  Lots of coffee and looking at Facebook.  This morning I got excited – I thought we had skipped winter and moved right to April 1st.  Most of my friends were posting photos of cookies they had decorated, pumpkins they had carved or costume dress rehearsals.  I honestly thought I was being punked.  I didn’t know people actually did any of this.

I don’t bake.  So cookie decorating is out.  I don’t buy pumpkins any more.  I’m tired of getting a letter in February from my HOA advising me that I will be fined if I don’t throw away my rotting pumpkins and take down my Christmas lights.  I had to use a blow torch to thaw them a few years ago and vowed right then and there that we would not do outdoor holiday decorating again.  Costume dress rehearsal?  Sarah still needs a long sleeve black shirt and tights.  I’m screwed.

I blame my lack of holiday spirit on being a swim mom.  Last night, just like any other night, I sat at the pool for two hours while my kids practiced.  I wasn’t at home baking or spreading newspaper in preparation for a carving massacre.  I didn’t even feel guilty about it.  Until I woke up this morning.  I tried to quickly come up with something EVEN BETTER than carving pumpkins.  I thought about making orange scrambled eggs but we don’t have food coloring.  What to do, what to do..

Grace isn’t going trick or treating this year.  She is hanging out with friends watching movies.  I’ll drop her and several friends off and give her some cash so they can order a pizza.  Sarah is going to a friends house and trick or treating with them and having a sleepover.  By 7:30 AM I have officially been dismissed by 2 of my 3.

Sophie wakes up just as the other two are leaving.  She is in 4th grade this year and her school party is at 1:30.  She hadn’t said too much about it but as she woke up she asked if I would come to her party!  I won’t lie.  I loathe school parties.  But I was thrilled to be asked.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Today is her best friends birthday.  Sophie has been invited to her house for pizza and trick or treating.  Sophie asked what time she was supposed to be there.  And then said “you are coming right?”  Yes Sophie, I’m all yours.

Admittedly, I am not super mom.  I don’t do crafts.  Or bake.  But I am there for the kids when they need me.  I also will let them go when they want to.  My feelings aren’t hurt that Grace and Sarah  are off doing their own thing.   Maybe I’ll get a photo of them tonight that I can post on facebook.  Maybe I won’t.

I did talk Teddie into trying on his costume for me.  That must count for something.  Happy Halloween.

teddie cat

Fix the flaw

Piggy backing on my previous post, Grace was DQ’s for the first time in a really long time at the meet last weekend. She was advised, not so kindly to “fix the flaw”. Grace was pretty adamant there was none and that it was a bogus call.  I watched the race and my assessment on her turns is the same as always.  She has a cute “beast mode” face.  I have no idea what I am looking at.  And I was trained in stroke and turn.  I will stick to timing.

Grace went to practice Monday and unbeknownst to her, the coaches were watching her fly with a very critical eye.  They didn’t want her to know, they were hoping her turns would be perfect.  They weren’t.  Two coaches, who both know her well, saw something they described as “a funny thing she does with her feet”.  Neither actually saw it as an alternating kick or a DQable offense but both of them agreed that in a race a turn judge could see it as an alternating kick.  Once they made her aware of it, she could actually sense what she was doing wrong.  I guarantee her fly turns next meet will be amazing!

Speaking of fly turns, or turns in general, Grace immediately signed up to do 400 IM at a meet her group is not attending.  They are going to an out of state meet the weekend before and entries have already been turned in for it.  She is going to this meet and just doing the IM.  She gave her coaches a pass and told them she didn’t need them there, that a coach she knows well is attending and she is comfortable with that.

I’m proud of her for being open to fixing a real or perceived flaw.  I’m even more proud of her for deciding to prove herself in the race.  In the end, that DQ will do her a world of good.  Her head will be in it to win it next time.

I hope the critics are watching.  And if she DQ’s again I’m going to need a whole bottle of wine.

Dairy Queen Anyone?

Be careful what you wish for…I couldn’t wait for Sophie to turn 9 so she would move out of mini’s and into age group swimming.  The mini meets are typically held on the weekend before or after our age group meets so we were losing two weekends a month.  While we bought ourselves a weekend the one we were losing turned into an even longer meet, we now have three not two sessions per meet.  In other words, an all day AND night affair.

Having three children, I often joke that I have an “on the job training MBA in logistics”.  Swim meet weekends tend to require a lot of forethought.  Fortunately our first meet was only ten minutes from the house.  We divided the three daily sessions up.  I took the first and third on Saturday, Chris the middle.  On Sunday we flip flopped that.

Sophie had the first session both days and had six amazing swims.  She dropped more time than we had expected in every event!  She has always been a bit of a one trick pony, fly is her thing – this weekend her free and back made noticeable improvements.  She didn’t swim breaststroke but its a safe bet she still has room for improvement on that.  She ended up with an amazing second place finish in 100 fly and came out the top 9 year old which will put her into our NAG’s meet!  It’s a big deal.  Because you get a bag tag and a t-shirt.  I’m glad my 9 year old is excited simply by a bag tag and t-shirt.

Sarah, who has never made a qualifying meet but is desperate to do so, proved herself a worthy competitor.  She too had six incredible swims and came really close to two JO cuts.  By March I have no doubt she will.  Sarah is slightly more simple than Sophie in her approach.  She asked if I would get her a king size pack of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups when she made those cuts.  I was happy to agree.

Grace had the latest sessions.  Sounds great in theory but she tends to swim better in the morning.  Grace had her eye on a different prize.  She wanted to make sectionals.   She also had a different carrot…she wants a $400 competition suit.  As much as I would like to see her make sectionals I much prefer the Reece’s Cup as a motivator.  Her coaches had tried to forewarn her that the sectionals cut, well within her reach this year, was not in the cards this particular meet.  The kids are deep into their training and in no way tapered or rested for the meet.  Saturday she had three great races.  She was disappointed in each of them.  Even though she knows better, hearing that her sisters had dropped 10-20 seconds in a few of their individual races, she had a hard time accepting her 1-2 second drops.  By the time she got home she had cheered up and was pleased.  She didn’t get the sectional cut in 100 back.

I think she went into day 2 knowing that the 200 back wasn’t going to happen either.  Oddly enough, her head and heart seemed to be in a much better place.  Her session belonged to dad.  I had put in my time.  She asked me to come back and watch her 200 back.  I wasn’t about to turn her down, it was the first time any of my kids had asked.  I can’t say I would always do it but I sensed she wanted us both there.  She swam the race well.  She didn’t get the cut but shaved off time and looked great.  Immediately after her race a dad that we have known for years stopped me to tell me everything she had done wrong.  I wasn’t sure what to say.  So I said “I have to go time her 400 IM” and walked off.

Grace had never swam 400 IM.  Much like Sophie, she isn’t known for her breast stroke.  He hasn’t swam a 100 in it in almost two years.  But she had worked very hard in practice preparing for this race.  Grace executed the race very well as far as I could tell – I like timing, great view.  She seemed to pace it well and was able to turn it on for the final 100 in free.  She got the JO cut in it the first time she swam it.  She was pleased with her time, said it wasn’t that bad of a race and even said she thought she could do it better next time.

Despite the fact that I was right there on deck, I somehow managed to miss the curse of death.  The raised hand.  Grace got DQ’d in the race.  I was shocked, as were her coaches.  I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know enough about swimming to know if it was bogus or not.  It also happened at the far end of the pool.  She was DQ’d for alternating kick in fly.  Her coaches were dumfounded, this is not something they had ever seen her do.  They attempted to over turn the ruling.  And you already know that it didn’t happen.  It never does.  I didn’t expect it to.


When they were little we would joke that a DQ earned them Dairy Queen.  We may have to revisit that ritual.  I visited a glass of wine when we got home.



Our club swim season is now in high gear.  Between the three girls we are at the pool five days a week.  I was excited to have Sarah and Sophie in the same group this year.  That excitement was short lived, Grace is now in two groups!

That being said, I made a commitment to spending less time at the pool this year.  I worked out some carpools that I call “nice to have”.  I don’t like carpools where I am dependent on someone, or that someone is dependent on me.  With three kids I have enough to worry about.  I am very fortunate to have a friend who feels the same way.  We have been taking turns driving – both of us are totally flexible which keeps the peace.

This has given me some new found freedom in the evenings.  I haven’t found proper use for the time though.  I am actually a little bored.

I’m not embarrassed to admit it.  I like hanging out at the pool.  Most of the people there are pretty cool.  I’m able to avoid those who aren’t.

Two years ago in November we lost our family dog MoJo.  He was a 15 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback.  Cancer and old age got the best of him.  Losing a family pet is devastating and we spent the last two years in the “we are never getting another dog” stage.  The grown ups did.  The kids, they wanted one right away.SONY DSC

After some family negotiations, we were able to convince dad that a new dog was just what we needed.  On Sunday we adopted Teddie.  He is a one year old Shishon (Bichon/Shih Tzu Mix).  He is absolutely adorable and is the perfect fit for our family.  He needed us.  And I realize now that I needed him.  He makes me laugh and is great company.  He loves to ride in the car and keeps me company on the rides to and from the pool.teddy

The kids are thrilled to have them.  In the past, my girls were very slow to come upstairs after swim practice.  Little did I know a white fluffy puppy was all I needed to motivate them to hurry.

Our first meet is next weekend.  I actually miss swim meets.  I have two days of triple sessions.  Remind me next Sunday night that I said that.