Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summer Swim

 The first half of my summer is officially over. 

Monday night (with heat indices hovering around 110!), we had our last regular season meet--this was the view.  Not too shabby, huh?

As had been the case the previous two weeks, we were stormed out for an hour or so.  This is how the kiddos entertained themselves. ;o) It was so fun to watch all the ages interact together and play!

This was our view after.  It was still ridiculously hot and awful, but it was still lovely.  :o)

We lost (as we did every meet this year), but since we're a family who swims for the fun of it, we weren't that worried about it.  There's always next summer. :o)

The pool is pretty much were we live right now.  Friday we stayed after practice and played (and Bean had a private lesson with one of the local swimming gurus).  While we were there, she was eating a "Fat Boy" ice cream sammich and this happened!

It had been loose, but I didn't think it was that loose... Well, apparently it was, and well, she swallowed it. O.o

When we got home, Lil sat down with her, and Beanie dictated a note to the tooth fairy.  Lil took dictation, and if they tooth fairy hadn't taken the note with her, I'd share it with you.  Alas...

Yesterday was the summer awards swim meet for the kids that didn't qualify for Champs.  We were there bright and early, helping to set up and be ready for 7:50 warm-ups. 

I had put Beanie in for 25 Free and 25 Back.  She was also put in for the 8&Under 100m Free relay!  I was shocked! 

Since Bitty missed the Queenslake meet Monday, we decided she would swim one last meet and did 50 Back and 50 Free. 

I felt like my girlies were "real" swimmers with their event, heat and lane written on their hands! :o) 
There's a LOT of waiting at these big meets.  I brought along games for the kiddos to play, and they were all so patient.

Both girls swam their hearts out and I couldn't be more proud of them!

I was only able to get one action shot as the pool deck was crowded with people--there were kids from all the VPSU teams present and it was a packed field!

This is Beanie waiting for the relay to begin.  She was the anchor leg. 

Now, I need to be real here and say there was another little girl who should have been swimming instead of Miss Bean.  Yes, she's a hard swimmer and she gives it her all, but this little girl is an older and faster swimmer and deserved the slot.  I have no idea how Bean was selected, but she was, and she gave it her all.  I couldn't ask for more than that.

And, here's that team.  Two eight year olds, a seven year old, and Miss Teeny Beanie.  She's such a little peanut next to those big girls.  The little girl who should have been given the opportunity was seven and would have fit right in.  Oh well. 

They were all very darling girls and gave it everything they had.  I can't help but think Bean's split was faster than her event time. 

Since we were up by 6:00, and had spent most of the day in the sun we were all beat by the time we got home at 1:30.  The girls were put to rest in their rooms and B and I sacked out on the couch and chair. 

Lindsay and I had to return after 4:00 to breakdown our tents and load up coolers and such, and I brought B and the girls with us.  The girls collected litter and debris from the grounds while the adults pulled down the tents/canopies. 

We stopped by N&P's on the way home to see if Pop would like to join us for dinner--we were having spaghetti at Bean's request so she could suck sketti noodles through her new gap :o)--and he joined us for a lovely meal. 

When he returned home, the girls hit the hay and I fell asleep on the couch.  That sun, it'll knock you right on out!

It's been a busy first half of the summer and I'm truly sorry swim team is over.  We're looking into year 'round swimming for Beanie come fall and I'll keep up the private half hour lessons with Bobby. 

But, as sorry as I am summer swim is over, there's a part of me that is really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. :oP

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Swim Season's Almost Over

Lily has been at Lissie Camp this past week.  It would seem that three older kiddos are more exhausting than two little ones because Liss has sent exactly ONE photo, and that was of Gabriel. Doh!

In years past, I would struggle some while Lil was at Lissie Camp.  I would miss her and long for her to be here with us.  That was the case Saturday and Sunday as our family celebrated HHD, but during the week, quite frankly, I was so darn busy I missed having her around, but didn't ache with it as I typically do. 

This has been one hectic summer and I'm stunned it's almost half over.  We return to school the day after Labor Day and I can see the days slipping away. 

Swim team keeps us pretty busy in the mornings--which was particularly lovely when I had all six kids.  The girls (Lil, Beanie, Sadie and Sally) will all swim in the summer awards meet Saturday and then our summer swim is done.  I confess to starting to freak out a little not having anything to do with the kids in those early morning hours that will now need to be filled.  Eek! 

Today we spent from 8 until 2 at the pool.  They close the pool from 10:45-11:00 and then reopen.  I have to be there until 10:15 for lessons so I just have the girls play on the playground and we hang out until they reopen.  We hung out with three other moms and their kiddos today and we all chipped in for pizza.  It was a fun day, but I did feel Lily's absence.  :o( 

I've said it so often, but it bears repeating--the biggest lie we tell ourselves as parents is we'll finally have more time once our kiddos are no longer needy little babies and toddlers.  Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!!

I'm so busy now I long to just sit and be.

That's not going to happen for another while, though. 

Sure, I won't have Bella and Ryan again until the end of August, but I'll still have Sadie and Sally.  And, tomorrow I have to once more jet up the road to Jessie's to pick up Lil.  It's a three hour trip and we'll have to come back tomorrow night and I'm really not looking forward to it.  Ugh.

But, I am looking forward to picking up my Bitty, so that makes up for it.  :o)

I want her to have at least one more practice under her belt before summer awards on Saturday.  This will be our first big swim meet with kids from all 19 teams in the VPSU participating.  I'm exhausted just thinking about.  :oP

The truth about swim meets (and swim team in general) is it really is run by the parents.  Everyone really does have to do their part to make sure it runs.  It's an entire family commitment.  I know that on Saturday even though I don't have an assigned job (like timing--I LOVE timing!), I'll be assisting in some capacity or another.  Sure, you can sit and observe, or you can jump in and help.  I don't mind helping.  In fact, I like helping.  Of course, you can ask me about this come Saturday afternoon and you might get an entirely different answer. ;o)

Monday morning, next week, will be the first Monday the girls have had a chance to sleep in all summer (except for that first week after school got out).  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit--even if I do have to find something to do for three hours in the mornings...;o)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

HHD 2015--A Two Day Celebration

As we've done for the past two years, we decided to enjoy HHD at the Pork, Peanut and Pine festival in Surry County on Chippokes Plantation. 

Doing so keeps us busy and entertained,

and allows us to take the pixie boat across the water. 
We met Nana and Pop and rode the ferry over together. 

We arrived at the park (it's a Virginia State Park, and B and I have discussed the fact we have NOT taken advantage of it as we should, given it's so close by!) and Pop brought out the balloons and we released them off away from the fair.

There they go.

Up, up and...


Bean asked, "Have they reached heaven yet?"

It was all very sweet and peaceful.  :o)

I know it's hard to see, (and maybe you just can't) but there are dragonflies sitting on each of the finials!

Here ya go!

Because this wasn't our first rodeo, we knew we didn't want to wait in a miles long line for lunch at noon so we headed right on over to our favorite BBQ vendor and picked up two orders of BBQ Cheese Fries--holy yumminess, Batman!

We were delighted to see the lady with the Berkshire pigs had returned for another year (yes, it makes sense given this was the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival, but still...)

She didn't have any little piglets with her this year--she said, the new litters this year had young mamas who are a little more protective than the older sows who just kind of loll around and let you do what you will with their babies (much like my firstborn versus my just get it)--but she did have these three month olds who were utterly fascinated by the peanuts Beanie was given to feed them. :o)

I was chuffed to see all the dragonflies were still hanging out on the ropes for the tents on the lawn. 

And, Bean was chuffed the Teeny Tiny Farm was back again this year.

As was the climbing wall. :o)

I find it lovely that we've visited enough now we know what we like, we know what we want to see, and what we want to eat.  I'm such a sucker for traditions. ;o)

Here is the mansion.  It's four rooms down and four up, but more on that in a moment.

As we were wandering around the vendors (melting in the process--holy smokes was it HOT yesterday!!) this guy caught my eye and I was enchanted!
I had to come around to the other side for an even better look. :o)

He's driftwood!  Isn't he glorious?!?

And then, there was this handsome guy and his creator (who was repositioning him so I could see his "good side"). :o)

How about this for a striking look? 

These, and many painted pieces of driftwood, are the creations of Everett A. Mayo and I found him to be the most delightful, lovely person to chat with.  He said the eagle was a commissioned piece for a movie and he said the lion came to him in a dream and he was told by a higher power he was to make him.  Amazing!

We wandered on (and sweated on and Bean began to whine--imagine--about going home) and I found my lovely butterfly garden with the beautifully fragrant lilac-esque flowers and lantana.

And, there she was.  :o)

We moseyed on over to the crepe myrtle enclosure (panoramic view for your pleasure ;oP) and explored for a bit,

 and then back to the mansion where I decided we absolutely needed to take the tour.

It's air conditioned inside, y'all!!!

I snapped panoramas of the four rooms, so the perspective is all sorts of distorted, but I wanted to capture the beauty.

Isn't this plasterwork gorgeous?!


Men's sitting room.

Dining room.

As she did when she was three, Bean found the floor vent and cooled off. :o)

We made our way back across to the food vendors and picked up a huge bag of kettle corn and two lemonades and a limeade from our favorite vendor and headed to the car.

 And Bean did this.  Thank goodness.  She so desperately needed to sleep.  We skipped the ferry and headed on home down 10, across 106/156 and down 5.  She slept for about an hour.

We showered and refreshed and headed out once more to dinner with N&P and then on to the Meenions!


My leetle Meenion. :o)

While at the movie, a storm rolled through, and when I turned my phone back on, I had a text from my sweet friend, Lindsay.  She had sent this photo:
She added a message saying, "Over your house.  Hannah is watching." She included a kissy and heart emoji. :o) 

She gets it, she knows.  She's been there twice.  :o(

I slept well last night and awoke this morning feeling dreadful.  I've been fighting a cold and it's just kicked my hiney.  I'm lethargic and sleepy and don't want to do anything.  B pointed out, sadness can do this as well. 

He's right, of course.  It's just I'm not used to feeling like this these days. 

It's been very low-key here.  I caught up on all the news and fell down a couple of rabbit holes on the internet, and Bean played on her tablet and B did homework and did research for his trip out of town this week. 

There's a "red meatloaf" in the oven, and Granny Tess chetties to be made (the onion is slowly cooking on low in a stick of butter as I type--have I mentioned it smells GOOOOOOD in here?) and broccoli to be zapped.  We wanted to have some of her favorites.  I know Lil's thrilled to be at Lissie Camp and NOT at home with the dreaded "red meatloaf" (she channels Randy when we have it. ;oP), but B and I are looking forward to it, and, I'll have leftovers for cold meatloaf sammiches at the pool tomorrow night. :o) 

We've had moments today where we sit and remember our funny girl and the things she said.  Sometimes it's so hard to remember.  Then, one of us will say something and it will trigger another memory and they come flooding back.  Not all of them, though. So many are faded and lost and it hurts to recognize that. 

Eight years is a lifetime and a blink of an eye.  It's forever and yet it's flown. enemy and a friend. 

My darling sweet Monkey Girl, we love you and we miss you every day.  Happy Heaven Day!  I hope you're having quite the celebration with Papa and GF and PawPaw and Granny and Toby and Aunt Susan and all our family! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Date with Bitty and HHD 2015 Approaches

 It seems I'm a little busy this summer.  Just a bit.  :oS

Our mornings are spent at the pool from 8:15-10:30 as we have someone in every practice time (Lil and Sadie first; Ellie, Bella and Sally in the second; Ryan and I in the third).  We have a lovely large playground the kiddos play on, and there's always a mom or dad on had to supervise if other parents are busy with lessons and whatnot.

Monday nights are meet nights--Ellie missed the one last Monday (when this photo was taken) which is probably just as well as we wound up going SO late due to thunder and lightning delays and then continued a second night.  There's nothing quite so frustrating as a continued meet...

Monday afternoons are spent resting for the meet that evening.  Tuesday afternoons and Thursday afternoons are supposed to be trips back up to the pool, but they haven't been happening much because the four extra kiddos are all being picked up early.  Oh well.

Wednesday is library day and all the kids are into it!  They love going in with their reading logs and sitting and talking to the volunteers about their favorite book of the week.  They love the prizes and fun freebies.  This week's freebie is a 1/4 lb of free gummy bears from Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop.  We'll go get them next week. :o)

Friday is my "day off", but not really.  Friday is the day I do all the cleaning I haven't done during the week, and my day to catch up. 

Unless, of course, I have to run my girlies somewhere...

Last Thursday I ran up to Jess's to pick up Bean and then back down again that night.  We spent Friday recuperating. :oP

Tomorrow I'll run Lil up for Jess to bring her to Liss's for her turn for Lissie camp.  More on that in a moment, though. 

Let's go back to last Wednesday...

I took my girlie on a date! 

We went to see Inside Out and we LOVED it!  It made us laugh--I have to say, one of my favorite things about going to movies with my girls is listening to them laugh their little tukkuses off--and think.  It made us cry, as we wound up in a little heap of tears and sniffles.

Just the two of us. :o)

From there it was off to B&BW for some lotions, gels and sprays...

We found the clearance table and picked up three full-sized items for about $10.  She had to smell everything before deciding on what she wanted.  ;o)

She suggested I call Daddy to see if he wanted to join us for dinner.  He did and met us over in New Town and we dined at El Tapatio.

We allowed her to get "real" soda for dinner.  She couldn't drink it all. ;o)

As we were getting in the car to head home, she asked if we could go get ice cream.

So we did!  :o)  She got a scoop of Oreos and Cream in a cone and then asked for a bowl because she's still trying to figure out that whole eating a cone thing. :oP

I got a bowl of peach melba.  Oh mercy me.  (Insert heart eyed emoji here!) This is what summer ice cream should be--smooth, creamy, tart, tangy, sweet, refreshing, utterly delicious!

Then, it was home and bedtime, but oh we had a glorious afternoon! :o)

Friday was a low-key day of rest for my travel-weary children.  Y'all, I'm getting pretty travel-weary myself... I've been to b'burg  then to Harriman and back to B'burg (in a day) then home to w'burg and two weeks later back to the 'Burg.  Then to J's to pick up Bean (who was none too pleased to see me--she cried!) and home again.  Tomorrow I'm back on the road.  :sigh:  And then again next Thursday. 

I slept eleven hours last Friday!  I'm tired just thinking about all the driving ahead.  :oS

My girls were truly rejoicing to be together again.  They only went out for a second to do something and wound up staying out to paint and chalk.

Later that evening they were playing Lego together.

Later that evening there was a rainbow.  It was lovely having everyone together once more.  My life is rather empty when one of my girls is gone.

You see, I know the permanence of having a child gone and it's eerie when one of my girls is not with me for a bit.  It's difficult to explain. 

Sunday is HHD 2015. 

Eight years.


This will be the first year Lil is not with us, and really, I'm just not looking forward to it.  I want her here with me, where she belongs, not away at Lissie Camp.  But, schedules and logistics being what they are, if Lil is to attending Lissie Camp with her cousins, she needs to go.

She was quite nonplussed to discover she wouldn't be home for HHD either.  She and I talked with Lissie, and they came up with a plan to honor her big sister, and hopefully she'll be okay. 

I can manage me, I can't manage and help Bitty if she's across the state from me.  I worry. 

We'll do the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival again this year as we've done the past two years.  It's a fun festival and we are able to be out and enjoy the day.  We take the pixie boat over and there are butterflies.  What more do I need?

I'm so busy I haven't taken a moment to breathe and just be.  I really need to do that.  Heaven Day approaches.  :sigh: Time flies and memories begin to fade and I stumble and worry and have panic attacks about it.  The heat and humidity continue to be MASSIVE triggers for me, and it's summer so we're around water constantly.  And, the girls keep asking.  So many questions... They have a right to know and need to know and I keep answering as best I can, but I can't shake the niggles and the guilt when I reply. 

Those fourteen year old girls at the pool are so big.  What would my girls look like all together? A big old Monkey and petite Bitty and Bean?  Would Monk have slowed down a bit?  I hate the not knowing. 

There was a Gwenyth Paltrow movie out when I was in college, Sliding Doors.  The premise of the movie is what would happen if one simple thing changed in your day, how would that change the course of your life.  In her case, it was making the Metro and missing it (hence the "Sliding Doors"...)  The movie split off from that point and we were treated to two different lives.  I rather viewed it as a Y intersection and what happened on each path. 

My would it be different if we hadn't gone that day?  It's those damn what ifs.  There are some things I would not have that I don't even want to contemplate--a big one being Bean! I don't know if I'd have been able to convince B we needed just one more baby.  I had been longing for one since right after Lil was born, but would it have happened?  Would Hannah and Lil get along the way Bean and Bitty do? 

The what ifs are a killer and I generally try to avoid them.  This is the hand I've been dealt, so it's the hand I'll play.  And, continue to play.  It's excruciating at times and beautiful and messy and joyful and sorrowful. 

So, we live.  We live large and noisily and messily and lovingly, and will continue to do so.  We know no other way. 


"Mommy!  I made a Minecraft Sisgust!!"  Or, to translate, Ellie drew Disgust from Inside Out in the style of Minecraft. 

Swim meet Monday night!  I love these girls!

3.  Keeping busy!  I have utterly fallen in love with swim team and our life at the pool!

4.  All six kiddos get along so well!  It's been much less hectic and chaotic than you would think.  Sure, folks look at me like I have three heads when I go out in public with them all (it looks like I had twins then a singleton then twins then one more singleton), but they're all good kiddos, so that helps. 

5.  I got my engagement diamond back today.  I had to have my diamond reset in a new mounting because my 60+ year old setting cracked.  Who knew gold got brittle and would crack??  The ring was a gift from GG to Brien (for me!  I LOVE that woman so so much!) and I wore it with pride for 20 years.  I had to go have it reset and I wanted to cry.  I found a setting that looks similar to this and reminded me of Hannah's waterlily and all is well. :o) 

No Milestones.