Sunday, September 27, 2015


- We had training for coaches on Saturday, so I took the opportunity to try a new recipe I'd had pinned for awhile: pumpkin snickerdoodles. So so so good!!! I'm not much of a cookie person, but these are definitely in the running for one of the best cookies of my life. I also made a big batch of what was supposed to be a gluten and dairy free version, but ended up being just gluten free after I got distracted and used real butter by accident. They actually held together and tasted ok, which is a first in my gluten free baking history, so yay!

-  Another new recipe I made this weekend: red beans and rice in the crockpot. One of the cheapest meals in the world if you have a stocked pantry cost me almost $30 since I was totally out of beans and almost every spice! ;) I looked at a ton of recipes and in the end combined elements from several, and it turned out beautifully! It was a lovely, fragrant meal to let simmer all day in the crockpot. :)

- And while we're talking about cajun food, here's a happy memory that flooded back to me as I was hunting for cajun seasoning: it was a little over four years ago, one of the last summers I spent in Alabama, and my best friend was dating the man who later became her husband. On one particular day, I had a huge allergic reaction to something (theme of my life) and I was absolutely miserable with a pounding head, running nose, watery eyes, and sneezing that just would not stop. Joe had invited us over to lunch and announced that he was making gumbo, and by the time we got there I was a complete hot mess. We walked in, I apologized for the sneezing, and Joe handed me a bowl of gumbo and a bottle of hot sauce that I'd never seen before. "Try this," he told me, and I poured it on generously and started eating.  Ten minutes later, my sinuses had cleared, I'd stopped sneezing, and I'd decided that my BFF should marry him. ;) (Just kidding - I pretty much knew he was the one for her the first time I saw them together!)

- The triplets traded in their cable for Netflix, and while I'm not a huge fan (to me, screentime is still screentime no matter what's playing, but now it seems like something Is always playing, and it drives me a little nuts) I stumbled across a new show this week that's won me over a little called Sing It On. It follows college acapella groups as they compete to make it in the national competition, and I'm loving the music. (Although, gotta admit, I want to see All-Night Yahtzee go DOWN lol.)

- I say this a lot, I know, but - I AM SO TIRED. :( I tried so hard this fall to balance all the schedules, to say no to projects that would have been fun but would have pushed me into dangerously overloaded, to create breathing room, etc... but I'm thinking I might need more margin than I originally thought. I was venting this week that I was already having trouble finding time to do things like make it to the bank or grocery store, nevermind tackling projects that need my attention. Feeling crappy most of the week definitely didn't help. Not sure yet what I'm going to do about it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Monday Morning Randomizer

- So my kid swam SO WELL and I am incredibly proud of him. Honestly, I was not expecting a lot since he's only been training with the team for about a month, but he was just fantastic and I was so impressed. :) One of the things that made me the proudest is that instead of letting his technique go to crap while trying to go fast (which is something I've been on him for a lot), he was really consistent the whole time. I told him afterwards how proud that made me, and he said his coach told him the same thing, too and "I should have listened to you." ;) Good lesson! His mom was really kind and told me how much of an impact our program has had on my little guy (and his sister, who also swam with us before swim team). I am so honored, and so blessed.
- And while I was there mostly to see his swim debut, I couldn't help but notice a lot of my other former students swimming. I counted nine kids on the team that I've personally taught at one point! (There are more that have graduated from our program, but not that I've worked with.) It was a nice visual picture of happy, successful kids. :)
- I went on a mad cleaning rampage tonight and I finally cleaned off the kitchen table!!! Granted, a lot of stuff got moved to the Couch of Shame (doesn't anyone else have a sofa completely covered in clutter that needs to be sorted?) but that's a project for another day. I also flew through the rest of the place and I'm happy to say it's cleaner now than it has been in WEEKS. Also, I unpacked my fall/winter clothes and stored away the summer clothes, and I also put together a big bag of things destined for the thrift store. Which is good, because I didn't accomplish anything else on my to do list.
- Happy Monday! In the last couple of weeks, Mondays have become my favorite days of the week. I love that practically the first thing I get to do each week is teach. :) And I love the little bit of time between dropping Abby at school and class; I grab a cup of coffee and get 10-15 minutes to sit quietly in my car under a shady tree before heading in to the pool. It's a nice little ritual that I'm loving.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


- Today was: a long day, in which I mostly failed at adulting. Locked my keys in the truck on my way to work, wrote a stupid email because I can't communicate before I've had coffee, forgot to pick up both my paychecks. Got up way too early because I swear my brain was just waiting for enough sleep to turn on again. I woke up thinking about my advanced swim class and two drills I really need to remember to do on Monday. (Brains should come with on/off switches; it would save on coffee and lost sleep.) Between all this (and throw in a crying kid who needed some one-on-one for good measure), by the time classes ended tonight it was physically painful to be awake.

- Frustrated by: my stupid ears, specifically the fact that I can barely hear the advanced coach when he talks to me on deck. I was trying to pick his brain today on some ideas for one of my kids, and I only got about every other word. Something about guys voices in that range (I have the same problem with my boss) combined with the echoey quality of the pool just make me want to give up trying to hear anybody clearly. (Darn you, eardrum scar tissue!!!) Clearly I should only work with guys who have bass voices. Problem solved.

- My to do list: get a spare set of keys for my wallet (ha!); clean the girls cage; excavate my kitchen table; recharge the a/c in the truck with the can of refrigerant I bought LAST WEEK.

- Looking forward to: watching one of my kids (and his sister, who has been on the swim team for over a year now but still considers herself one of my kids, apparently) swim in his first meet this weekend (so proud of him!); a day off tomorrow (rare and unexpected and YAY!); Artsfest on Sunday (pen of my favorite things!); getting a whole day with Abby next week (about time!).

- Laughing at: this picture that Anna posted after her dorm fire alarm went off and everyone had to evacuate at 2:30 AM. (Apparently it's "that sort of day" her way, too.)

Monday, September 14, 2015


- Eating seared tuna from the grill; drinking iced coffee, hot apple cider, a flat white with cinnamon syrup; baking (and eating!) banana bread.

- Wasting time drinking tea and watching shark movies on Maggie's bed; stealing a nap (but of course); watching Doctor Who (season three, the Martha episodes); getting a haircut (just a trim); spending some time snuggling with Zinnia.

- Burning fall candles: "Fresh Apple Orchard," "Crisp Fall Leaves," and "Woodland Sage." Also burning my silver birch candle for a few minutes each night before bed.

- Attacking projects: hanging pictures from this summer (98 of them!); finally buying a can of refrigerant to recharge the a/c in the truck (hopefully last time this year!); cleaning enough to keep the place habitable (though I STILL haven't unearthed my kitchen table); decorating my pumpkin.

-  Writing: an initial training plan for next year (while this year is still fresh in my mind);  a just-because card to Anna; blog posts. ;)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

This Week

- Survived week one, sense of humor and stress levels (mostly) in hand. Gosh, I missed this!!! Got to coach four times (once covering for a coach who didn't show, once because I was training a late hire, and twice with the advanced class), and got in the water to soothe two criers. ;) Also had one parent bring their hysterical child to me while I was trying to coach the advanced class and demand that I calm her down "because you're the only one who can get her to stop crying when she's like this." (I did, within thirty seconds. I was so glad to see her again I wasn't even annoyed, more amused.) I learned all the names of my new coaches (after failing spectacularly at this on Saturday, so badly that my boss tried to help me out). I've written two thank-you notes already to coaches who helped me deal with especially difficult or trying kids (and I need to write a third tomorrow, to the team in general, for surviving the first week). I also got a good start on learning all the names of my new kids this session (trying to get back to my goal of knowing everybody's name and face).
All in all, a good week. :)

- The triplets and I are finishing our second week of "tot school" and this week we've been focused on the letter B and the color blue, with an "All About Me" theme (we've done lot of name-recognition games, traced our bodies on the driveway to decorate with chalk, and measured everyone with a yardstick). (Last week was A and red, with a "back to school" theme). We also went to storytime on Thursday since the pool is closed for maintenance; L completely closed up and sat on my lap the whole time, A sat by herself but refused to participate, and M jumped in wholeheartedly and seemed to have a great time. Hoping that the girls will warm up a bit as it becomes more familiar.

- This week was really exhausting as I jumped back in to my new Autumn schedule for the first time... it's not necessarily harder or busier than last year, but it's definitely got a much different rhythm to it, and I was a little stressed all week about forgetting something. Luckily the only thing I forgot was an assessment for swim (lucky, not because it was unimportant, but because I'm pretty much always there early anyway so it didn't matter).

- Speaking of Autumn... it's sending me very mixed signals so far. The sky looks extremely autumnal (the sky always looks closer during fall - true story) but the ridiculously hot temperatures during the day seem to scoff at that idea. On the other hand, I bought a pumpkin yesterday (couldn't resist - my love of pumpkins is profound) and today I bought an orange chevron printed burlap banner. Clearly I'm mentally ready for fall... I just need some cooler temperatures to support it.

- Some views from my life lately: the flag at half-mast on 9/11; finding a magazine about wooden boats for Cris; prepping to teach writing and literature to Ruth and Dari on Tuesdays (we're studying The Red Badge of Courage and man, it's been a long time and geez, I totally underestimated/forgot how much WORK this is! ;)).

Monday, September 7, 2015

On Growing

Started off my morning at the pool, first class of the season. Left way too early because I was so excited, I just couldn't wait. :) Was supposed to be on deck, but since one of my coaches was a no-show, I got to work with one of the kids (which is what I'd rather be doing anyway).

He hadn't swum with us in about six months, and I remember that the last time I coached him, it was an incredibly frustrating experience. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I couldn't seem to fix the many problems with his strokes, and when I did manage to get one under control, another one (or two, or three) seemed to pop up in its place.

Today was a totally different experience. The problems were still there, but now I immediately recognized what they were - balance and body position issues. I knew how to fix them, how to break them down into baby steps so that he could be successful. I had the progressions down pat, had the language, knew how to demonstrate. I was having fun. He was having fun. We both felt successful.

Something about being in the exact same place with the exact same student drove it home: I'm better than I was, I'm growing, I'm getting it. There are so many times where I feel like "everybody is smarter than me" and (often!) "I'll never get this down the way I need to." And there's some truth to that. But sometimes you get those moments where life offers you a "yet" and its glorious promise: "someday." Not smart enough "yet." Not there "yet." But - "someday."


(Also - lest I give you the impression that I've got it together - we hired a coach named Lacey this year, and I went to respond to her email only to discover that my phone autocorrects "Lacey" to "lackey," which is NOT the leadership impression I wanted to give off. #facepalm)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

About This Week

- Long, long week. Lots of hours worked, lots of stuff to get done. I'm so tired.

- Training with new and returning coaches this morning. I think this is the first time we've done training where I haven't walked away feeling just destroyed emotionally; I usually go home and bawl because I feel like I'll never get caught up to where I want to be. And I'm still not. But today felt good. There's been progress. I'll take it.

- (I'm still picking apart what we did and thinking about how to retool for next year, though. I have ideas. It's dangerous. ;))

- Meeting up with Cris afterwards for a virgin mojito and a cheeseburger, and practically falling asleep at the table because, again, so tired.

- Writing a coaching roster and coming up short-staffed because my two lovestruck coaches (remember them?) won't work on the same days. #facepalm

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fall Bucket List

1. Make treats for my coaches
2. Order prints of summer photos (and hang them!)
3. Send a care package to Anna
4. Take a road trip
5. Watch a sunset
6. Crochet something
7. Buy mums
8. Host a fall craft party
9. Go to Artsfest
10. Visit the corn maze
11. Decorate a pumpkin
12. Buy a fall candle
13. Find a new blog to read
14. Drink hot apple cider
15. Buy a new sweater
16. Go to the farm
17. Decorate for fall
18. Go stargazing
19. Go to First Friday
20. Go watch a swim meet ;)
21. Burn a new CD
22. Take Fall photos
23. Watch new seasons of NCIS, Bones, and TBBT
24. Eat honeycrisp apples
25. Make something in the crockpot
26. Make apple butter
27. Sleep with the windows open
28. Take a nap
29. Winterize trailer
30. Go dancing