Friday, January 30, 2015


Y'all. Everybody around me is sick. I'm kind of scared to breathe, actually. :( My family caught whatever stomach virus I had last week and has spent the better part of this week dropping like flies, one by one. One of my sisters actually ended up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital and returning the following night, it was so bad, and while no one else got it quite so badly, it's definitely been a miserable week.

The triplets got sick, too - fevers and coughing and sneezing and so. much. snot. This week has brought back memories of this time last year when the girls came down with RSV at the same time their mama was in the hospital and I spent a couple of weeks wiping noses, pinning them down for nebulizer treatments, and dosing out meds.

This week wasn't quite so bad, but I still wasn't surprised when I arrived at work this morning to be told that both girls took a trip to the hospital last night, and Addie was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was one hurting puppy yesterday. :(

Miles, on the other hand, had it worst at the beginning, and then bounced back pretty quickly, and he wasted no time today letting me know that he felt he'd gotten too little attention these past few days while his sisters were sick. Luckily, he woke up from nap quite a bit earlier than they did, so we got to do lots of one-on-one snuggling and loving, and he was pretty happy the rest of the day, coming up to me to give random hugs and exclaiming "Love!" He's reached that age where normally, when I reach to tickle him or kiss him or pretty much interact with him at all while he's playing, he sternly tells me "No!" and stays focused on his trucks or blocks. But not today! All I had to do was glance in his direction and he would flash me his big, beaming smile and giggle. :)

Anywho... it's been a long, long week, and I'm tired. I have two hours of swim in the morning (just training - which can be fun, because I love talking about good coaching ideas, but somehow I have the feeling I'm going to be a lot more animated than a lot of college students who have been pulled out of bed before noon lol!) and then I'm home to crash. My to-do list includes taking a nap (yes. I put it on the list.), hanging up the Valentine's Day decorations I made last year (and then didn't enjoy since I spent almost no time at home during the next six weeks), doing some cleaning, and trying my hand at making a bikini bag out of the PUL I bought tonight. (Of course, in my case it's more like a "shorts, swimsuit, rash guard" bag, and if I could throw my towel in there too all the better, but hey.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Happy Place

These days, I just can't wait to be here. 
It's what I look forward to all day, what I miss on the weekends, what I think about in the middle of the night*.
This is what feeds my soul.

*It should be understood that it's not really the pool itself that is important; rather, it's the kids who fill it each night that make my my soul happy and my heart full. I love these kids dearly. I would totally be filling up my feeds with all the precious faces who swim with us if I could. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What A Week!

Whew! This week has eaten me alive!

Monday I woke up feeling great - I'd finally beaten the crud that I'd been dodging for several days, and I got to go back to coaching, and everything was coming up roses! So I went and I coached, and afterwards I was really hungry. Really hungry. Like, I stood in the locker room outside the shower and wolfed down a Lara bar because I was so, so hungry.

Literally, by the time I reached my road an hour later, I had to pull over because I thought I might throw up. Turns out the crud vacated my body just in time for the stomach bug to hit! I spent the night throwing up, texted a "sicknotcoming" text to Chris, and spent most of the day in bed, crawling out to go to swim that night and stand on deck trying to look like I was doing something more productive than trying not to throw up. (Apparently I failed at this, and nobody was fooled, but apparently I also looked so miserable that everyone was helpful and proactive and not needy, so it worked out.) (Honestly, I contemplated not even writing down my hours that night. I'm not sure that my boss was paying me to do anything more than be a figurehead lol.) 

I missed a day with the triplets, thanking God for their grandma, who stepped in to cover for me, and kept thinking that any second now, the nausea would lift and I'd feel like myself again. I tried drinking lots of water, Gatorade, eating crackers (and tried some soup on Wednesday night that I ended up throwing out, uneaten), etc, and nothing helped. I ended up going back to work on Thursday still nauseous, and it wasn't until Amy offered me some Zofran that I was finally able to get myself together. Apparently my body just needed a little boost.

Spent the rest of the day (and the next!) trying to rehydrate, and enjoying eating again. :)

Apparently I did this last year, too. I'm hoping NOT to make this a yearly tradition. (Seriously, though, I think I had the stomach bug last when I was, like, nine? and now twice in two years? What gives?)

So! That was my week. My weekend was much better. :) I got to sleep in on Saturday, which is always glorious, then I got the new roster roughed out for our new swim session before meeting up with some friends for lunch. My friend Brittany is going to be having a baby girl this summer and I get to throw her baby shower! :) We had fun talking over a bunch of shower ideas and decided on "mama and baby owl" for the theme. I can't wait to start planning! Then this evening I worked at the triplets; since they turned two, they have a slightly later bedtime, and we began switching them over to toddler beds. I was nervous about both changes but so far, so good!

Here's to this week - hopefully it's better than the last! :)

Monday, January 19, 2015


- You know what's truly sad? When it's Saturday night and you miss your job. (Okay, fine, I'm actually pretty ok with this. I love my job. But sheesh, I should be able to enjoy the weekend without wishing I had a class to coach! I think I'm addicted.)

- The triplets had their second birthday party on Saturday. Their birthdate isn't until Tuesday but still - where did the time go?! In just two weeks, it will be a whole year since they came into my lives. Here's the very first picture I ever took of them, on my first day:

And here are some recent snapshots:

Here's to a great second year together. It's amazing how much they've grown in the past twelve months even as it breaks my heart a little. :)

- I want a waterproof mp3 player. I'm thinking about this one.  Has anyone used one like this before? A friend just got this one and likes it, but I think it would be easier to have an "all in one" design. I don't actually know if I'd like listening to music while I swim, though (I find the rhythm of breathing and water pretty soothing) and it's a bit of money to gamble. I guess I'll keep contemplating it a while longer.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

On Soup (And NOT Getting Sick!)

I've been feeling a little under the weather the past couple of days. I've been Zicam-ing it up and drinking lots of fluids and going to bed early and basically doing everything I can to convince my body that no, I'm not getting sick. Not at all. Mostly cuz I'm in the water a lot this month, and until next week we're still on a skeleton crew at swim, so there are no backups. If I'm sick, I will just have to teach sick. (Also - I don't want to be sick. It's no fun.)

But I didn't get a very good night's sleep last night (I had a nightmare - what's with that? I almost never have nightmares. I can count on one hand the nightmares I've had in my life.) and I woke up still feeling off, and what I wanted most was soup. Really good, hot, healthy soup. And I made some, and it turned out amazingly, so I thought I'd better write it down while I remember what I did! :)

I stopped at the local grocery store and hit the salad bar for a big container stuffed with baby spinach, grated carrots, and mushrooms. When I got home, I chopped an entire onion (because Maggie always claims onions ward off sickness) and tons of fresh garlic (ditto) and sauteed them in a little oil. When the onions were soft and translucent, I added the mushrooms (chopped), a minute later the carrots, and finally the spinach (which I tore up). I let everything cook for a bit, then I added several good glugs of red wine because red wine makes soup and roasts better. This is, like, the first rule in my universe. (This is what I'm cooking with right now. It was $8 on sale for a huge bottle the same day I used up the last bottle on a french onion soup kick.) I brought it to a simmer and let it go for a bit to cook off the alcohol, then added water and some powdered beef stock (I really need to buy/make some nicer stuff, but that's all I had left in my pantry). And finally, I added a can of white beans for some protein.

Amazing stuff. I would have preferred about twice as much spinach, but oh, well. I could also see adding some radiatore to make it a heartier meal. Some bacon, chopped and cooked with the onion, could only make things better. And when I remember to pick up tomato paste, I'll probably add a good glop, too. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Things I Love

Over the last couple of weeks, I've done a lot of decluttering. I still have a lot of stuff to reorganize and file, but for awhile I was taking a big trash bag (or two... or six) of stuff to the thrift shop every day or so. Living in such a small space, ideally the only things you own are things that you love, that bring you pleasure and function well. Plus, this is a great way to learn to be content with fewer things. I'm not very good at this part yet (lol) but living small is definitely helping me learn!

I thought I'd take a little space each week to share a thing I love, whether it's a product, useful item, or sentimental item. :) These might be big things or small things or even pretty silly things, but they're things I'm thankful for!

So up this week - and remember how I said these things might be silly? ;) - is something I've been super thankful for lately: my new dish drying mat!
This is the exact one I own, just in case you're so inspired by this post that you decide you need your own. :)
Yes, you heard me correctly.

See, when I moved in to the trailer eighteen months ago (holy crap has it really been a year and a half?!) I bought a bunch of dishtowels. Cheap dishtowels that looked cute and immediately started to fall apart as soon as I washed them, and most of which I swear actually repelled water. And grabbed every piece of dust, hair, lint, etc that entered the trailer and would not let go. They were worse than useless for drying dishes, and I learned a hard lesson quickly: quality vs. quantity. Over the next few months, I snagged more expensive but higher quality dishtowels as I found them marked on clearance or on sale.

The other thing I always meant to buy is a dish rack - something like this. But I never did, because I couldn't figure out where to store it when I wasn't using it, and it seemed like such a waste of precious counter space to let it sit out when it wasn't being used. So I never did. 

My solution to these problems ( a) too many useless towels and b) lack of dish rack) was to stack the towels over the counter and pile the wet dishes on them. I sometimes thought about sewing them together to make them neater, but I truly despised them and I knew this wasn't a good permanent solution, so I never bothered.

Right before Christmas I was walking through Wal-Mart, realizing that I'd gotten almost all of my Christmas shopping done early, and I saw this dish drying mat for the 100th time. Except that this time I contemplated actually getting it. It was cheap ($5) and grey (yay!) and it said "XL" (which ended up being... sort of untrue, but it's the perfect size for my counter so who cares). I was also feeling sort of unappreciated - I'd just come off of a rough couple of weeks - and normally this is not a good time to go shopping LOL, but this ended up being one of my favorite purchases ever.

It's so cute, I don't mind it sitting on the counter while the dishes dry. In fact, I leave it out and put a candle on it after the dishes are gone because I love the pattern. I think the dishes dry faster with fewer spots. It doesn't smell musty like the pile of icky towels (which, by the way, got cut into squares and put in the "rags to clean the girl's cage with" pile). When I don't want it out, it folds up and fits in the drawer with the (nice) towels. It's cleaner.

I will probably eventually buy a dish rack (I've got my eye on this one!) but in the meantime, I'm sort of delighted at how $5 has made my kitchen so much more amazing. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


- Flat Whites. Can I get an amen? I'm in heaven.

- I cleaned out my truck this weekend; it's been on my to-do list forever and I don't know why I've been putting it off and putting it off because it's not a hard or long task, but I have been. But on Sunday I took everything out of it, gathered up my quarters, went to the store for a new air freshener and cleaning wipes, and now it's cleaner than it's been since February. (Maybe longer, but I'm not admitting to that.) I still need to set aside some time to shampoo the carpets, but seeing as the temperature isn't going much above freezing all week, I think I'll make that a task for a warmer day.

- So swim started again last night, and it was insane crazy. But I was so glad to be back! I got there way, way earlier than I needed to because at the last minute there were a lot of kids added to the schedule and roster changes and whatnot, and I suddenly got nervous that I was forgetting something. But I'm glad I did, because the pool was completely empty and still shut down for the winter break (I had to go track someone down to open it up and turn on the lights). And I got to enjoy the peace and anticipation for awhile, which was nice. Of course, then a gazillion kids and parents descended on us and everything went nuts, but it was nice while it lasted. :)

- I get asked all the time by parents about the best way to put a swim cap on their kid. And since I've never worn one, I've asked all my coaches about the best way to put one on, and while I've gotten some marginally helpful hints (always get it wet first, wet the hair too if possible, start at the forehead and pull backwards, etc), I'd been told there is no magic method. Except apparently there is. (Go watch it, it's completely, totally amazing!!!)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Welcome Back To Life

It is January twelfth, and I'm just now going back to my regularly scheduled life.

Actually, to be brutally honest, I still feel like I'm on vacation since I don't go back to working job #3 until Wednesday.

I've had three weeks of a slower pace (only working one job each day), which included a mini vacation, lots of free time, and tons of sleep.

I can't remember the last time I've been so unbusy for so long a stretch.

I've been lazy. I've been quiet.

I've been alone, for long glorious stretches.

I've been near people I love.

It's been good.

Contrast this with the last three weeks before everything slowed down, and even I am sort of shocked at the sudden turnaround. I'm just going to say it - I was miserable. Depression was looming over me, I spent most of my time running frantically from one thing to another, trying to keep it all together, trying to not slip and fall and let someone down. I had some issues with people that I resented having to deal with. Everywhere I turned were people who all wanted something from me - time, attention, affirmation, etc, etc, etc. I had a moment where someone hit me, emotionally, when I was already down, and it took days (ok, weeks) to recover.

In the middle of this, I realized I was in trouble, and I turned to God and begged for wisdom.
And it was as though He didn't hear me.

That's not what you're supposed to say, right?

You're supposed to say "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally... and it shall be given him" or "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth" and "... that, if we ask anything... He hears us."

But that wasn't what it felt like. While I still felt the presence of God in an intimate way, I also felt like He knew the answer (duh) and just wouldn't tell me, even as I grew increasingly desperate for the knowledge. I wanted to know how to sort through everything that was being thrown at me, and instead I was hearing "wait." I didn't want to wait. But I did.

And then, suddenly, just like that, when I'd almost given up, were the answers that I'd been looking for. Suddenly. Plainly. With no fuss or muss, just a quiet assurance that this was what I'd been asking for, and a sudden accompanying peace about the decisions that would follow.

I'm not really going to say anything more about those decisions, because some of those decisions include saying goodbye to some things that have run their course in this season of my life. Closing doors - even when it's the right thing, even when you're 100% sure that it's part of God's perfect plan - is still hard. I'm still thinking, but I am grateful for the experience - the going from turmoil to peace in such a short time. Just in time for the holidays, no less. Grateful for the rest - emotional and physical - that followed.

I've been able to recharge on all levels. Renew myself creatively. Do some writing. Hang out. Sleep in. Organize. Clean. Get ahead (for once!) in projects. Listen to music. Read. Pray. Praise. 

Life goes on. I'm realistic enough to know that this is not the new normal, that pretty soon I'll be head-over-heels in life again, and that my truck (and probably my house, and also sometimes my self) will be a mess again. But I know I'll be happy. I'll be right where God wants me. I'll be running around like a crazy person, wondering how I'm still on my feet even while I know how I am.

And you know what?

I'm ready.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Creating Wonder

One day several years ago, I stopped in at a local coffee shop for a latte. I can't remember where I was coming from or going to, but I must have been in a hurry, because otherwise I would have driven just a little further up the street to the Starbucks, where the staff was absolutely fantastic and knew me. (In those days I had a standing order - a grande iced caramel macchiato with caramel syrup instead of vanilla. I ordered it so often that I didn't have to specify anymore.)

I didn't particularly love this coffee shop; they roasted their own coffee in-house, and as romantic as that sounds, I could never get a strong enough brew, whether I ordered a latte or a drip or even straight espresso - it always tasted a bit blonde to me. But coffee of any kind is almost always better that no coffee, so there I was.

The young man minding the shop took my order, friendly enough, and disappeared behind the counter to make it. The equipment lining the counter was huge and hid all but the top of his head from view, so what I knew of the process were the sounds - first the grumbling of the grinder, the gentle hum of the espresso machine, and finally the high-pitched whine of the steamer. The smell of espresso drifted to me, promising that caffeination was soon to come.

The machines ceased, I heard the soft "fwp" as he pulled a styrofoam cup off of the stack, and then silence.

He walked around into my line of sight, and I stepped forward, hand outstretched,, expecting to be handed my latte. But he carried the cup in one hand and the lid in another, and beckoned me over.

"I just have to show you this," he told me excitedly, his face beaming. "I've been practicing and practicing forever, trying to figure this out, and look! I finally got it to work!"

This isn't "the leaf". I wish I'd thought to take a picture. :(

I looked, and there in the foam was a delicate leaf, slightly lopsided only in the way that true leaves usually are. I smiled, almost involuntarily; his joy was contagious. And in one split second - it was no longer than that - I fully realized the magic of this moment. The fact that he'd spent days trying to create a leaf in a cup of coffee that was always, always covered up by a foam lid and unappreciated. For no other purpose than to create beauty. That the very moment when he succeeded, it was my cup that happened to be there. And that he'd chosen to share his joy with me, a total stranger.

He made a move to bring the lid to the cup, and I stopped him.
"Don't," I said. "It's beautiful. I'm going to enjoy it."
I picked up my cup, he smiled, and I walked away, sipping cautiously at the edge, letting the beauty last as long as it could. Letting the caffeine and sugar nourish my body, and a tiny leaf nourish my soul.


I've thought about this moment since then. Thought about a young man bent over a cup, foamed milk in his left hand, attempting over and over again to create something wondrous. And failing. And persisting, until that one perfect moment came along. I thought of his expectation, that I would immediately clamp a cover over his magic and forget it. I wonder how many times I had the opportunity to make something wondrous; how many times I made the attempt, and when it didn't come together as planned, abandoned it completely. Or - and this is the thought that breaks my heart - how many times did I come thisclose to succeeding, and stopped when I let myself think that nobody would appreciate the moment if and when it happened?

Thursday, January 8, 2015


- It's so cold outside. I feel chilled, even though the thermostat in the trailer reads just over 70 degrees (very, very high for me) and the girls are sleeping on the top shelf of their cage, instead of in their snuggle sack (which means it's REALLY warm). I have lots of indoor projects I could be doing, but all of them would necessitate climbing out from under my electric blanket. I don't want to do anything but sleep. Apparently, I am a bear and should be hibernating.

- Speaking of the girls... Zhiva spent quite a bit of time this morning "cleaning out" the top level of the cage, moving a lot of the fluff and stuff out of the bin they sleep in and putting them on the shelves. As soon as Zinnia woke up and climbed up, however, she was extremely unhappy and began immediately moving everything back in. As Zinnia pulled stuff back in on one side, Zhiva quietly threw it back out the other. I was cuddling on the couch having the time of my life watching this go down. :)

- Yesterday my friend Crisy and I took the girls (Ruth and Dari, 14 and 11) up to go ice skating and out for dinner afterwards. So, so much fun! I always expect to be awful at ice skating, so it's a pleasant surprise when I remember that I'm halfway good at it. I love the sensation of gliding across the ice. It feels like flying. :)

- Has anyone else used a curling wand yet? I've been using my old curling iron over the last few months to jazz up my (flat, fine, generally unstyle-able) hair for special occasions. After I chopped off more than ten inches over the summer, I found that my hair would finally hold a curl, something it's never done before in my life (except for my best friend's wedding, where I had my hair styled professionally and the stylist used enough hairspray to choke a horse). Using my cheap curling iron, I could get my hair curled in about 30-45 minutes, using quite a bit of product - heat protective spray, a lot of hairspray, and an oil mist to keep everything from going to frizz. The curls lasted, but I had to "make up" with my hair the next day (extra conditioner and no heat styling for awhile). Then Liz got a Remington curling wand for Christmas. She didn't like it - never got comfortable with the different technique - but I used it once and was instantly in love, so she let me steal it. Now I can completely curl my hair in ten minutes flat, using no product but the heat spray (which, btw, I love - no residue, and doesn't make my hair instantly fall flat like all other products I've used. I want to try out the curl activating spray soon), and the curls last all day, with no damaging hairspray, etc. Love it, love it, love it. I'll be rocking curls a lot more in my future. :)

- I haven't taken my tree down. I should. I don't want to. I did undecorate it and get all the other decorations stashed away, but I've gotten addicted to sleeping by the soft glow, and I can't give it up. This is quite a switch for someone who usually likes to sleep in pitch-darkness, but it is what it is. Makes me feel safe. Makes me feel happy. Perhaps I should get some seasonally appropriate decorations and keep it up year-round? ;)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Welcome, 2015!

So far, it's been a great year! ;) Tomorrow, school starts up again and most folks go back to a normal schedule, but I'm still well into "vacation mode". And I still have another full week to go before life goes back to normal! Truthfully, I'm looking forward to it - I miss swim like crazy and I can't wait to see the triplets again - but I'm incredibly thankful for the downtime after such a crazy, hectic year. :)

I put up my first tree this year! I was too broke to buy one, even a $20 one, in time for Christmas last year, but I did manage to score this 3' prelit one for only $5 a couple of weeks after Christmas. This year I put it up the day before Thanksgiving and thoroughly enjoyed it; I spent many hours in the past few months sitting in its glow, drinking tea and just relaxing. In fact, I'm thinking I need a lamp or something for my kitchen table now to replace my harsh overhead lights.

Towards the end of October, when I was really struggling with depression and just the thought of doing any Christmas shopping was completely overwhelming, I decided to give my family a "getaway" for Christmas instead of buying individual gifts, and I reserved several rooms at a local hotel for New Year's Eve. My dad ended up buying another night, so we got to spend two nights in a lovely hotel with a hot tub, pool, and wifi. :) We had a lovely time, and I'm already thinking about making it a yearly tradition.

Since getting home, I've been working on my resolution to declutter and reorganize the trailer. So far I'm plowing ahead and not letting myself get discouraged, reminding myself that it's going to get worse (lots of stuff piled around waiting for a permanent "home" that's still getting cleaned) before it gets better. My goal is to take one garbage bag to the thrift store or dump every day. So far I'm on track!

Last month I pulled up to rehearsal one night, turned off my headlights, and the knob came off in my hand! :( My dad brought me a pair of pliers and ever since then I've been using them to turn the headlights on and off, waiting until my dad had some spare time to replace the switch.

Well... last night when I was coming home, the headlights wouldn't come on. It was still light out, so I managed to make it home, but this afternoon Dad graciously tore the dash apart and installed a new headlight switch. This required drilling some holes in the trim and installing new screws, since the part the switch was supposed to be affixed to had broken off. I stood around trying to be calm and listening to Jack Ingram to keep from freaking out that my dashboard was in pieces, but in the end everything went back where it had been - we didn't even have any screws left over! ;) - and I now have a functional headlight switch.

Earlier this week, Dad also spent quite awhile putting in a new fuel filter, air filter, windshield wipers, oil change, etc for me, and the truck is now running TONS better than it was! I'm really excited about this, as it kind of sounded like it was near death before lol.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Winter Bucket List 2015

1. Go star or moongazing
2. Start a summer vacation fund
3. Make treats for my coaches
4. Mail "snow" to Khy
5. Swim 3 times a week
6. Host a board game championship
7. Go to bed early and fall asleep listening to music
8. Go ice skating
9. Complete a 30-day decluttering challenge
10. Do a Whole30 (even if it ends up being a Whole 14!)
11. Cover dinette cushions
12. Wash all slipcovers, throws, and pillows
13. Read a new book
14. Arm-knit a blanket
15. See Into The Woods
16. Plan out Brittany's baby shower! :)
17. Plan a "date" for Valentine's Day
18. Watch Gracepoint
19. Buy new sheets