The Penny Presser

Lions and tigers and bears OH MY! Took the kids to Out of Africa today and saw some pretty amazing animals. Sarah fed a giraffe a carrot out of her mouth. Sophie petted the hugest snake I have ever seen. Grace fed a tiger raw meat.

We went to the Music Museum the other day and the Out of Africa Zoo today. Living in DC I am a big fat cheapskate. I can not stand paying for zoos and museums. I expect them to be free and if they are boring I want to leave. I try to keep it under wraps when I am bored. I have no clue what keeps my kids entertained.

I feel like my kids are pretty well travelled and have been to lots of cool places but the one thing that they are always entertained by is the penny smoosher.

What the hell is up with that? Tigers, Lions, Giraffes and musical instruments from around the globe don’t hold a candle to the penny smoosher. And I never have the .51 cents required to partake. I suck as a parent. Thank heavens they take plastic to get into all of these places. Next time I go into DC I plan to take 6 quarters and three pennies. I plan to show them fun.



Who wants to go for a hike?

After 8 days out of the pool, Grace started bouncing off the walls yesterday. She reminded me of one of those Toddlers and Tiaras kids when they are cracked up on Mountain Dew and Pixie Sticks. Today she came down. With a crash.

Chris and I went for a run this morning. We are visiting his dad in Scottsdale. We came across a great place to hike and couldn’t wait to take the kids there. We had a nice breakfast and suggested the hike. Five hours later I gave up and took a shower. They weren’t going anywhere. Chris couldn’t even get them to go to Target.

Lethargy has set in. I just took my first mid day nap since college. Sophie did a few laps of fly in the 8 meter backyard pool. Sarah has mastered Cut the Rope on the iPad and Grace helped make a salad for lunch. I didn’t even go on the Target Run but I did ask him to pick me up a copy of US Weekly. I see conditions deteriorating rapidly.

I don’t know how people sit around all the time. It is painful.

Decisions, decisions

We are going on vacation for two weeks for spring break.  I feel a little guilty pulling the kids from school for meets.  Ironically enough, I feel no guilt pulling them two extra days for spring break.  We got screwed on snow days (thank goodness!) anyways.  We head west every other year and spend two weeks visiting family.

I have choices to make.

Do I?

Go Tiger Mom on the kids and make them get in the pool and do laps several times while we are away?

Cross train them with running, core work and upper body strength training?

Work the tans hard-core?

As a group fitness instructor, I work out for a living.  When I go on vacation I do exercise almost every day.  But only because I also like to enjoy good food and I hate to have it catch up to me.  As a full on lover of summer though, I like to work the tan when I can.

Decisions, decisions.  I suspect one of them is too much like me to sit around on her butt for two weeks straight.  But guess who decides?  They do!

Stay tuned, swim mom becomes vacation mom!

And your excuse is?

If you are like me, you have heard them all. From parents and swimmers. I hope you have never used them yourself.

My favorites:

  1. Had to poop
  2. Had to pee
  3. Ate too much
  4. Didn’t eat enough
  5. Pool was longer than I thought
  6. Pool was shorter than I thought
  7. Suit too tight
  8. Suit too big
  9. Flags in wierd spot
  10. Lines in wierd spot
  11. Thought it was a 50
  12. Thought it was a 100
  13. Thought it was an IM
  14. Goggles full of water
  15. Goggles in the water
  16. Didn’t warm up
  17. Didn’t warm down
  18. Warmed up too much
  19. Warmed down too much
  20. Sat too long
  21. Stood too long
  22. Too long between race
  23. Races too close together
  24. Ate too much
  25. Starving
  26. Drank too much
  27. Dehyrated
  28. Stayed up too late
  29. Got up too early
  30. Wanted to give someone else a chance
  31. Wanted to go home

So we are clear, I myself have said some of the lame-o excuses AND have let my children use them. The reality is though, it is a level playing field. At 6 PM on Sunday, everyone is tired. When two pools are racing at once, everyone has to keep a sharp ear on their pool. All the kids are sitting around, eating their weight in nachos. The kids who are true warriors can race their best under any conditions. No excuses.

And when you tank you tank. Have the humility to say “I (or my kid) didn’t have the best race / day / meet. There is nothing wrong with blowing a race, and truth is no one cares. (If your friends do, I strongly urge you to find new friends). I don’t want my kids to blow it off when they have a bad race or meet. They need to address it. But they also don’t need to come up with a lame excuse.

I love it when my kids say “I got too close to the wall on my third turn and it really showed in my time”. If they had to pee, not my problem. Maybe the problem of the kid in the heat after them.

The little things in life

Grace swam 4 events at Junior Olympics today.  400 Medley Relay as lead backstroker, 200 back, 100 free and 50 fly.

Wonder genius mom didn’t really consider that with her seed times she would swim then all within about an hour.  My bad.

Grace has been fearful of relays.  A man who will remain nameless scarred her for life on them.  She rocked it and got a best time, her first AAA cut in 50 back!  Go Grace!

And that was the highlight of the meet.  We will take it!  A victory by all accounts.  Please swim GAWDS let her do it again tomorrow.


The highlights for me:

Getting to see my swim meet BFF!  She got to stay for finals and I didn’t.  But I got a Margarita and she didn’t!

Sitting next to a guy who refused to give up “his wifes purses seat” for a man who just had surgery on his leg and was on crutches.  Screw humanity, that purse needed to be comfy.  He literally left two minutes later and we all scored the front row.

Watching my friends twelve-year-old son eat TWO bowls of spaghetti faster than he swam 50 fly (26.37 thank you very much).  We wanted him to eat the second faster than the first, a little shoving food in your pie hole trials and finals if you will.

My daughter didn’t ask for the $79 blue tie-dye t-shirt.


I think tomorrow will be a soccer tournament update.  I will be outside for seven hours in 74 degree weather.  A nervous freaking wreck about one silly race.  That will hopefull take place in 30 seconds or less!

Whatcha doing?

Me – Going to bed

You – At 9:21?

Me – Yes. Meet tomorrow.

You – Are you swimming?

Me – No.

You – What time are warm ups?

Me – 11:30 AM

You – Are you lazy?

Me – Pretty much.

It is a lot of work sitting around doing nothing most of the day. If things go REALLY well I will sit on my ass most of the evening too. I secretly like it.

Junior Olympics Countdown

I added a countdown calendar until JO’s, our big spring meet. 12 year old is swimming and the 10 year old would saw off an arm to be able to! She is giving it her all and hopes to come away from our meet this weekend with a qualifying time. Fingers crossed for her.

I thought a JO calendar made me sound like a more caring parent than a calendar that counts down the number of days until I get a two week break from the freaking pool. Our first since September.

I am seriously psyched about not washing towels, driving to the pool or making my kids two dinners every night. Added bonus – two weeks of NOT hearing “OMG that practice was so freaking hard”.

Oh yeah, and I can’t wait to see some awesome swimming!

I totally have my goggles…

I view much of my life in terms of classes.  I teach group fitness classes to help pay for my kids swimming.  The endorphin rush I get from working out also keeps me somewhat sane and pleasant.  My motto?  “Happy mom, happy kids”.  Swimming costs me about 200 classes a year.  In other words I have to teach about 200 classes a year to pay for my kids swimming.  (One would think I would look better in a bathing suit than I do).  This doesn’t include gear.

Every September we purchase all new gear.  I swear they should do swimmers registries.  I haven’t bought baby crap for a really really long time but I loved walking into the store and saying I want this, this, this and two of those!  And the UPS man would just deliver all of this useless shit to my house.  Yes, useless shit.

Once you have paid for swim team, swimming seems like a cheap sport.  Bathing suit, cap and goggles right?

Not so fast.  Let’s look this over a little closer:

Suits – Kid is swimming 5 days a week.  In chlorine.  We go through about 6 practice suits a year.

Goggles – One pair.  Check.  Until they leak or break.  Or nervous kid chews through strap.  Maybe a back up pair.  Or three.

Kickboard – One.  indestructible.  They never lose this and there are always 100 floating around.

Fins – One.  Pair.

Cap – One would work but I have girls.  You know where I am going with this.  They need to match their practice suit.

All the other crap – These are all the “nice” but not “need” to have items.   Swim bag, flip flops, mini shampoo and conditioner, towels, hair brush and cell phone (Temple Run anyone?)

And the most useless piece of crap ever – The mesh bag.

It holds all the crap.  All neat and organized.  Because we all know swimmers are so organized and never lose shit.  The mesh bag I have found EXPEDITES the crap loss.

Grace lost her mesh bag.  It contained cap, goggles, fins and kickboard.

Me to Grace – check locker room, lost and found and front desk.

Grace to me – KK (this means ok?)

Next day…

Me to Grace – did you check?

Grace to me – yeah, totally lost.

One last-ditch effort, Me to Grace – you checked all the places I asked?  Eyeroll….

Off we went to replace everything.  As we are loading it all on the counter I made a last moment decision to put the mesh bag away.  I felt like she needed to lose everything the hard way next time, piece by piece.   The moment we got home I insisted Grace SHARPIE her name on everything.

Fast forward a week and we are at a meet at our home pool.  I was shooting the shit with the front desk crew talking about how airheaded swimmers are.   Mr. Headofthefrontdeskdude laughed and said, no kidding, someone left a mesh bag full of crap here a week ago and hasn’t claimed it…ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???????????

My 12-year-old is way too cool to ever hang out with me at a meet but I can text her (I am not allowed to talk to her in front of her friends).

So I text homegirl.  K-Did you ask the front desk if they found your mesh bag? G-yeah. K-for reals? G-duh.

That’s when I snapped a photo of said bag and texted that to her.

Turns out mesh bags hold three pair of goggles, two practice suits, four caps, a kick board and a wet dollar.  Who knew?  Couple hunderd bucks worth of shit.  8 spin classes.  My ass isn’t getting any smaller.  (and to answer the question you are dying to know, why didn’t I just return everything I bought the second time…one word, sharpie).

My favorite place to shop:

My kids prefer this:


Lucky for me, I have yet to see one that actually works.

You MISSED my race???????????

Don’t lie.  Everyone of us have missed our kids races!  And about half the time the kid figures it out.  How do they do that?

I missed Sophie race one summer evening.  She came up to me all kinds of pissed off.

YOU MISSED MY RACE!  She screamed in tears…HOW COULD YOU?

Gee, I don’t know let me think about this…

1.   There are 75 girls at this meet that are 8 and under
2.   74 of them are wearing navy blue suits, white caps and goggles.  (One mom was smart enough to put her kid in yellow and that bitch didn’t miss her kid swim)
3.  It lasted 24 seconds.  It is 10 PM and we got here at 3:30.  Sorry my eyes weren’t glued to friggin pool the WHOLE night.
4.  At 7:30 someone broke out some grown up juice that was straight vodka.
5.  Your sister was asking me for the 53 rd time if Abbey could spend the night, could she have money for nachos, could dad pick her up and if we could go out to eat.
6.  I spent the last hour in a state best described as coma because none of you have swam for the past three hours.
7.  I finally decided I couldn’t hold it any longer and decided to go into the nasty ass bathrooms and pee.
8.  On the way out I bumped into an old friend from college.

And right then, just then did I see you coming out of the water.  Damn, I am sorry.  But this shit happens.  Get over it.

If you did miss the race and your kid didn’t notice, here are some good questions to get you off the hook:

I couldn’t quite see the time, what was it?  …… That’s what I thought!
How did it feel?
How do you think you did?
What do you think you could have done different?
What did coach say?

Then give them ten bucks for concessions.

Note to self:  Screw the team suit.  Get the loudest, brightest, ugliest suit off the clearance rack.  Wear it to the meets.  Tell the coach you were racing out the door and the team suit was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND.  Swimmers are known for losing shit.  They won’t question this….

How not to miss your kid swim

You’re a loser baby

Just got this email from one of our rec soccer coach:

Dear Parents,

I understand your disappoint and frustration with our season this year. The girls have gone from being undefeated for two years to a season without a single win. We were quite simply outplayed this season.

That being said, I hope that you can see the improvements our team has made throughout this season. The girls are playing as a team, playing hard and playing smart. I look forward to our spring session.

Coach Awesome

I immediately replied “who the hell complained”. Immediate response “everyone but you”.

I freaking hate team sports. It is so confusing to me… A few things happen:

The team and my kid play for shit – I blame everyone, kid blames the team

The team plays awesome my kid plays for shit – I blame my kid, she blames her best friend for telling her she looks funny

The team plays for shit my kid plays awesome – We should quit swimming and play travel soccer – world cup baby!

Team plays well my kid plays awesome – It was the red bull and pixie sticks before the game

Aside from that, I could give a rats ass if we lose. We swim.

We lose. We only lose. I don’t even know what the hell winning is. Maybe gold medal at the Olympics. Maybe. But who the hell wins in swimming? We live in DC metro. Even if you DO get first at a meet, there are 10 other meets running that same day all over the area. Chances are pretty good that someone, somewhere is kicking your ass! And someone out in California is kicking theirs.

Think I am lying? Ever see a national record be set? NO? I bet you have. You were probably playing on your ipad, reading a book, texting, sleeping, buying nachos or sitting outside getting some fresh air. I went to a meet recently and several national records were being set. About 10% of the people there were paying attention. No banners fell from the ceiling, no music played and no American Idol confetti fell from the sky. A few people clapped and then do you know what happened? The next race started. The moment of glory? More like a nanosecond.

I hope that when you go to a swim meet you watch your kid. You hope they do their best. Cheer for your friends kids and don’t be happy when other kids do bad. Winning isn’t everything. As a matter of fact, it isn’t anything.