Monday, July 27, 2015

Going On Lately...

- I've been doing a lot of adventuring lately: dinner after swim with Cris and a long walk around Solomons Island (and discovered a new restaurant tucked away behind the boatyard, perfect for a future adventure), Saturday morning bananagrams and coffee with Maggie, take-out bbq by the pool with Anna. I'm liking the pace of this summer.

- I found individual canteloupes at the farmer's market on Saturday and I can't wait to try one! A whole canteloupe always goes bad before I can eat it on my own.

- Also, I planted a dozen pumpkins seeds last week, and eight have sprouted and seem to be doing great. I'm excited; I've always wanted to grow my own pumpkins. Last night I rinsed my spinach seeds and I'm waiting for them to sprout. Actually, I'm thinking about doing another round of seeds and having a small fall garden this year. I'm thinking broccoli, squash, greens (spinach and lettuce, possibly some cabbage?), and carrots. I need to make a decision quickly...

- Speaking of fall... don't hate me, but I'm pretty excited for it. We've had a couple of cool mornings this week that reminded me why fall is my favorite season, and I'm looking forward to getting back into my fall routine, seeing the triplets on a more regular basis, and getting another year of swim rolling (and I miss my fall coaches. I can't wait to see them again!). That said, I'm still a little sad about summer ending. It's been a really good one and I've enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed most summers.

- Also: fall planning. I'm mostly excited with a little bit of overwhelmed thrown in for good measure. I have meetings with both mom-boss and swim-boss scheduled over the next couple of weeks to get our plans laid out for fall. So much planning to do for the triplets! I'm going to try to come up with a different theme for each week and prep everything that way, so we can decide at the beginning of each week which activities/crafts we want to pull out. We'll see how it works.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

(Mis)Adventures

- Yesterday when I arrived at the pool, they were letting the summer camp kids swim. I find this annoying, even if I concede their right to be there; it means I have to wait until my classes are supposed to be starting to put in the lane lines, and then it's a mad scramble to get everyone sorted out to where they're supposed to go while also getting everything set up so we have a place to put them (my coaches have been awesome about pitching in and helping out, though, which has kept my stress level pretty minimal.) (And yesterday the camp counselors got their signals crossed, and brought the last group in to swim just as my classes were starting, and when the lifeguard told them that we had the pool at that time, I got sworn at by a lot of ticked-off middle schoolers.)
But since most of us arrive early to set up, when we can't do so, we all generally cross the deck to the other pool and play around until we can. Ruth has been hitting up Connor for free coaching, Elena is still determined to win at least one race from Connor, and I prefer the cooler temperature if the water for swimming laps.
Yesterday, through, Connor demonstrated a "suicide turn" for Ruth, and I was intrigued. I had him show me a couple of times, then tried it for myself a couple of time just to see if I could do it. Fifteen minutes later I could, albeit slowly and awkwardly and with a lot of laughs at myself. And then I got out of the pool and I immediately felt like someone had beaten my brains with a whisk as I staggered around deck looking drunk. Connor immediately realized his mistake and apologized for not warning me in advance. Personally, I thought it was pretty funny. ;) Two hours later I still felt a little addled!

- There was a wasp in my bed last night! I thought I felt something crawling on me, and it stung me as I flung it off my arm and against the wall, then scrambled around in the darkness (without my contacts or glasses) to squash it. There wasn't as much pain as I expected, and almost no swelling, so I took some benadryl and event back to bed (after stripping and remaking the bed. Because yeah). This morning when I woke up every join in my body was killing me. :( It's a reaction several of my family members have had before, but one that I'd never experienced (and hope not to again!). I can't take benadryl during the day, so I'm trying ibuprofen (which seems to help with everything except my left hand/arm, which makes sense, since that's where I lot stung). And a wrist brace. Hopefully by tomorrow it will have worked its way out of my system.

- Last night after swim I drove over to Solomon's Island to meet Cris for dinner. We sat on the back deck of one of my favorite seafood places, picked crab, and talked about everything under the sun, then walked around the island until well after dark, looking at houses and dreaming about what kind of house we'd build with unlimited funds lol (although tempted by a couple of incredibly beautiful plans, we both agreed that small is more appealing, at least at this stage in life). We also snuck onto the boatyard to look at all the different boats and dream a little about what it would be like to be liveaboards. ;)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Things I'm Thankful For

- I had another really amazing worship service on Sunday. My soul was strengthened. God is good. :)

- My dad spent several hours on Saturday working on my lawn. Such a huge blessing, since my yard had gotten completely out of control lately, and I've been stressing about attracting slitheries. :( Now that everything is trimmed back and cut short, I'm much less worried! Plus, it looks so nice, and it's definitely easier to walk through. :)

- He also recharged my A/C in the truck after it started to die last week. It's been HOT here lately, but my A/C runs like a freezer and I've even had to turn it down a couple times (and that NEVER happens!). Another thing that I'm incredibly thankful for!

- Coffee. I'm always thankful for coffee. Today is 52 days drinking it unsweetened! (I should now start trying to give up taking cream in it, but I think that might be a goal for another day lol. About the best I've been able to do is switch from half and half to nonfat milk.)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Six For Sunday

- First a little random praise sesh, because God has really blessed me (in general, but this week especially). Some of those blessings would seem small to some people, but they mean the world to me. I'm especially thankful that somebody took the time this week to offer some kind words and encouragement after I'd been feeling pretty insecure. (Ever have those moments when you just look around and think, "EVERYBODY IS SMARTER THAN ME!!!"? Me, too!) And sometimes it's nice when you get affirmation that it's okay to be still growing, still "in progress". I think kind words are just about the greatest gift we can possibly give each other.

- I'm sort of hesitant to put this out there, because my experience in the past has been that when I've shared struggles with my faith community, the response (often/especially from leaders in that community) has been to immediately try to "fix" it, when what I needed/wanted was to know that it was okay to be in that uncomfortable place for awhile, that it's good/okay to question different aspects of your faith and let God reveal Himself in His own time through prayer and scripture as you seek Him. I've been in a bit of a spiritual desert lately. God is good, but sometimes His people aren't, and there have been a lot of actions over the past year or so that have left me discouraged, even brokenhearted. Earlier this summer I realized that I was really craving some spiritual space, a new perspective, a place to rediscover God. It's really hard to worship when you feel like you need to protect yourself from getting hurt, or when you feel like you have to advocate for things you believe in deeply, when that also separates you from the community that you're supposed to be a part of. It's complicated and messy and I know that not everyone will agree with this, but I just felt a need to be separate for awhile and let some things heal before I could rejoin my faith family. As selfish as this sounds, I need to be ministered to right now, by God and by His people, and there just wasn't an opportunity for this to happen where I was.
So... this past Sunday I visited a small church close to my home, a tiny, historic building with stained glass and antique pews and a congregation that welcomed me into their presence and then respected my need to worship without pressing their own agenda onto me. It was an incredible experience; there were times I got very emotional (read: tearful lol) and everything - the lyrics to the music, the message, the few interactions I did have with the people - ministered to my soul in a deep, precious way. I left feeling renewed. I am so thankful.

- Maggie and I have been spending the past couple Saturday mornings holed up at our favorite coffee shop, drinking coffee and playing Bananagrams and people watching. I've enjoyed it immensely and hope the tradition continues! :)

-  Today has been an "accomplish things" kind of day. I've been cleaning the place, working in the yard, doing laundry, and trying to knock off little tasks that have been on my to-do list forever (like FINALLY getting the succulent I bought BACK IN APRIL into the little orange pot I bought for it BACK IN MAY. 
After working in the yard I was totally covered in dirt, and I jumped in the pool, fully dressed, to wash off, but I have more work to do outside and I don't want to get any more clothes dirty, so now I'm puttering around in damp clothes. ;) 
Between the triplets, Abigail, and swim (and not even counting any swimming I do for pleasure!) I'm pretty sure I spend at least half of my life damp.

- Is it me, or is summer just slipping through my fingers faster than I can keep up? It's already halfway over. :( I've never been a huge summer lover (I don't love the heat or the humidity) but this one has been pretty amazing. I've enjoyed just about every second of it, from the long hours spent in the water with Abby or the triplets, to the random spontaneous adventures that have been happening a lot - I've even made peace with it being so much lighter out in the evenings (although, I am so low on sleep... my body wants Fall back lol). But, almost most of all I think, I've been foinf the fact that I've gotten to be in the water with the swim kids all summer, either coaching my own class or helping my coaches with difficult kids or large classes. I forget something that THIS is what I love - not writing rosters and keeping tabs on station promotions and interfacing with parents (HA!), but getting to work with the kids. Watching their faces light up when they finally get it. Cheering them on as they try over and over again. This is the "worth it" for me.

- Some visuals from my life lately:

Friday, July 17, 2015

These People

These people. I love them dearly. I will miss them while they're gone, and I am thankful for the time we got to spend together this summer.

(L-R Natalie, Laura, Elena, Maggie, Jennifer, Connor)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Morning Randomizer

- This (just in case, like me, you made it through the weekend unaware of #deadracoonTO). You're welcome.

- I have been doing okay at keeping my house cleanish. If that sounds like a very unimpressive goal, I'm okay with that. I've stayed on top of laundry, dishes, and clutter (well... kept the clutter down to a minimum?) and that's about all I'm asking of myself lately. The place is due for a deep cleaning very soon, and I also want to get started repainting. Maybe this weekend.

- It was haircut day for the girls today; I kept more of my length than I did last time but I'm hoping it will be a little more manageable. Between Abigail, triplets, and swim class I'm in and out of the pool usually a couple of times a day, and I've mostly just been letting the hair do whatever it wants. I tie it up when I'm teaching, but that's about it.

- Speaking of swim, Maggie and I hit the Lands End sale and ordered rash guards. I figure that I replace everything I wear regularly about every three months or so, more often during the winter when I'm swimming laps for exercise. This time, I snagged one of my  favorite "surfer" styles that I've been wearing all spring and summer with my favorite board shorts (but they were out of black - boo!) and one "swim tunic" that I've liked every time I tried it on, but never wanted to spend $60 on (but was willing to spend $20 on!). I'm still hoping to get a swim tee style when they go on sale (probably this one). And on a whim this weekend I ducked into Kohls and found the last pair of board shorts in my size on a great sale, so I bought them, too (I'm thinking ahead to winter when I'll have to mail-order any swimwear I want). I love these shorts - they're great for swimming but comfortable for wearing and they dry super-fast, so I can wear them home from the pool when I don't have time to change with the triplets, since I'm hoping to keep swimming with them all winter.

- Speaking of the triplets and swimming: they're so close to doggy paddling! I don't know if I'm heartbroken or excited lol. I had them all floating and blowing bubbles and then over the Fourth of July weekend their parents bought them puddlejumpers, and sure enough, next time we went to the beach they held their heads up and paddled with their hands. (This. THIS is why I hate puddlejumpers!) I'm hoping this doesn't undo their willingness to put their faces in the water. I'm guessing not, since Lucy and Miles spent most of our pool day on Friday jumping off the diving board. ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Celebrating The Fourth

I had an absolutely lovely holiday weekend celebrating the Fourth of July! :) Incidentally, it also crossed my mind several times how much I hated this holiday when I was in retail hell. Fourth of July meant mad rushes that cleaned out the shelves, angry customers, backed up lines, and - starting way earlier than it should - extremely drunk people. I didn't have to work on the fourth this year, but even if I had, it wouldn't have compared to that at all lol!

The fun started on Thursday with a "patriotic manicure" session for Abigail, Anna, and I.

Abigail looked through a lot of ideas on my phone and decided she wanted blue polka dots with an American flag on her ring finger and thumb.

 
It took me about half an hour and half a dozen toothpicks, but I made it! She loved it and was actually impressed (which I did not expect from my little perfectionist!).

Anna wanted a dark blue manicure with an American flag on her thumb, and a firework on her ring finger. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself!


After doing everyone else's nails, I was done (plus - I have such poor coordination that I can barely paint my own nails, nevermind doing designs on myself). I did a simple red, blue, and white-gold mani and had fun rocking it all weekend! (I got tons of compliments, too! Love it!)


I did have to work on Friday, but as soon as I got off I did a mad dash through Wal-Mart to buy drinks and supplies, and that evening Dad, Maggie, and I lugged a cooler of drinks and a huge tray of chocolate covered strawberries to the lawn of St. Mary's College to enjoy the River Concert. Over the day, more and more friends decided to join us, so by the end we were sharing our blanket with Linda, Sam, Ben, Cris, Anna, Mark, and Paulina. People came and went as their schedules allowed, and we had a great time relaxing, eating our strawberries (so. so good.) and enjoying some wonderful music.
 

One of my goals this weekend was a trip to the farmer's market to check out the prices and see if I could get better deals on produce (verdict: yes), so on Saturday morning I called Cris to see if she wanted to come along (she did!). We walked around and I snagged a head of romaine lettuce (so much fresher than the supermarket!), mixed red, green, yellow, and orange peppers (5 for $3!), tomatoes, heirloom carrots, and strawberries (not that great a price and nowhere near as good quality as supermarket). I also swung by the Amish stand and snagged a miniature shoefly pie (which was no good - I ate half and ended up giving the rest to dad. I need to make one myself!) and gingerbread (which was amazing!). We also tried the homemade lemonade (which was okay, but not incredible), patted the puppies, and generally enjoyed our little excursion.
 

Sunday was a quiet, low-key, much needed day of rest. Breakfast was this omelette, STUFFED with chopped peppers from the market and a sprinkle of extra-sharp cheddar (so, so good!). I worked on cleaning the house with frequent breaks, and got everything pretty squared away by the end of the day.  That evening Maggie and I ordered pizza and watched The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. (Which we loved after the first two minutes. It's just a beautifully shot film.)