in summary:

ten days before july ends and we start the lightning-fast slide to the end of summer, here is a brief look at where we are and what we've accomplished in the past two months.

to recap:

harper's room was going to get a new look

henry's room was going to get a refresh

something about shelves in the basement

veggies in the garden

 

as of today, we've accomplished precisely zero of those things.

unless you count three tomato plants and the herbs.

 

so what HAVE we been doing?

well ...

 

henry swims at 8 a.m. daily for 2-2.5 hours, at either a pool that is 15 mins away, or a pool that is 45ish mins away (depending on traffic).

 

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after swimming, there is a one hour or so time gap until he needs to go to work.

dude's a lifeguard:

 

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marc traveled literally all of june.

 

harp WAS swimming ...

 

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but kept having stomach issues, so she opted to sit out the rest of summer.

those stomach issues? last week they became a seven-hour visit to the emergency room, during which time she had not only a blown vein while trying to get her iv started, but both an ultrasound and a CT scan to check her liver, gall bladder, appendix. verdict? high likelihood of a ruptured ovarian cyst. poor kiddo.

 

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other than that, she had a sewing camp for a week,

 

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got some new socks,

 

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and is now in summer band.

 

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on the few days that henry doesn't work, he's usually either doing summer homework or out pokehunting with friends.

 

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and just yesterday we finally managed to make it to the dmv so he could take his driving test.

he passed.

now we have to let him drive.

 

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which ... remember what i said about 8 a.m. swim practices?

and one night i got to do something fun: i went to see brandi carlile and the avett brothers with my friend, sue.

 

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and right as the concert was starting, i got a text from my mom that my grandma had passed away.

 

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sooo ... yeah. fun stuff.

summer's been super productive and relaxing.

we have a very fun trip coming up, though, and then: school.

and then, maybe, i can get stuff done around the house.

 

how does it all keep going so fast?!

 

 

 

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it's here

the day i've been dreading for nine months has arrived, no matter how much i willed it to not happen.

it's the last day of school.

not that i'm not looking forward to having more time with the kids. (though, any introvert worth their salt will tell you that alone time is a must if we are to function and get through the day.) but ...

this last day of school is too big for me to take in right now.

this kid ...

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today is her last day of elementary school.

this is the last time she will climb onto the bus as a little kid.

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and in three months, these buddies will separate into two different middle schools.

where they will be middle schoolers.

i mean, what the heck?!

who said they could grow up??

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and as hard as that is to take, it pales in comparison to this guy ...

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who will be a junior in the fall.

a junior.

who will drive himself to school. no more bus. today was the last time.

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just ... nope. can't think about it yet.

makes my heart hurt.

i now have three and a half hours to enjoy the silence, gather my emotions, drink some coffee, and put on my big girl panties so i don't have tears in my eyes when they get home.

i mean, when the littlest kid gets home.

because the big kid is going to a pool party for the rest of the day with friends. and the girlfriend. and he'll get a ride home.

and i just can't.


all herby up in here

confession: i'm a little obsessed with my gardens right now. i wander out a few times a day just to see if anything has bloomed.

so far, the only thing that has are the little eggs ...

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so while i wait, i decided that our porch needed an herb garden. somewhere i could just open the door, snip off some stems, and make dinner that much better.

i ordered a cute tiered plant stand from world market, along with some copper plant tags, and then ran to the nursery for nine of our favorite herbs.

a few days later, the box arrived, and i couldn't wait to get started!

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(mario was obviously just as excited to supervise.)

building the stand was pretty straightforward ... any ikea-phile should have no trouble. three shelves, two long legs, two smaller legs, and a couple of brace pieces, along with screws and an abundance of allen wrenches.

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the multiple wrenches came in handy with the two-piece bolts. one to hold the bolt tight, and the other to screw in the second piece.

and, of course, there was the one screw that just didn't want to go all the way in.

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and mario just gave me that cat look, the one that said, "seriously, human. one screw? you're just going to leave it like that?"

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and yes. yes, i left it like that. (until marc got home.)

in less than an hour, it was built and ready to hold herbs.

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which it did. technically. still in the box from the nursery, though.

aaaaannnndddd ... five days later, i finally planted them.

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mmm ... thai basil ...

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hello, mint. can't wait to use you in iced tea and lemonade and mojitos ...

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my little herby stand makes me happy.

also making me happy? the peonies are about to pop. any day, man ... i can't wait!

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the show's about to start

summer is nearly here, the school year is winding down, the days are longer and warmer, and the garden is about to enter Act II.

 

the lilacs and bleeding hearts are on their way out,

 

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and my shade-loving friends (ie everything along the front of the house) are gearing up for their big show.

the hydrangeas are budding, both the annabelles and the fire & ice:

 

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the hosta have begun to unfurl ...

 

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and the astilbe are about to show their colors.

 

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the spurge is adding some needed brightness,

 

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but they've got nothing on the dianthus. those overachievers.

 

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the coral bells are gorgeous, even if they are the wrong colors.

(when we did our landscaping, i specifically said to the designer, "the only color i really don't like is maroon/burgundy.")

(which, of course, translated into two burgundy crab apples, and coordinating coral bells that will find a new home in a different part of the garden next year.)

 

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i am soothed by the fact that my beloved peonies are getting so close to blooming ...

 

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even though the salvia will beat them to it.

 

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and i added a few new friends this week: the columbine, and the daisies

(who were supposed to be in the garden since Day 1, but ... again ... the designer heard me say "daisies" and gave me "black-eyed susans".) ...

 

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the lady's mantel is full and about ready to take over the joint,

 

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and some bright lantana are now hanging out with the trumpet vines.

 

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and amidst all this new life, there is a tiny nest in the wreath on our side porch door, full of little speckled eggs.

 

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i can't wait for the next act!

 


a beautiful day

mother's day turned out to be a lovely one.

i slept in - made it all the way to 7:49! - and had a quiet cup of coffee before everyone else awoke. then we all got ready for the day, there were gifts (a "best mom ever" mug from harp, some funky socks from henry, and a new ipad from mchotness, because my old one has finally updated itself out of reliability), and then we headed to the old old neighborhood for brunch.

back in 2004, before i was pregnant with harper and when henry was still just a little guy, there was a new bakery/restaurant about six blocks from our house in south minneapolis that made the best brunch, so we went there for mother's day. and henry ate more food than i'd ever seen a little person eat, including at least a dozen giant chocolate-covered strawberries. we moved away a few months later, and haven't returned to that restaurant in 12 years. this year, i was feeling nostalgic, so off to turtle bread we went. harper and i had brunch, but the boys opted for soup and sandwich. alas, there were no strawberries - chocolate-covered or otherwise.

we then walked by the old old house, and commented on how huge the pine tree in the front has grown (well over 20' tall, when just a dozen years ago it was only about marc's height), and reminisced over the neighbors we knew and memories we had from our time there. and i got a pic with the best thing to come out of that little bungalow that i loved so much ...

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we then drove over to linden hills to walk around lake harriet - as per my usual mother's day request - and take in the blooming spring flowers and charming houses. and while we walked, i told marc that the next time we move, i would really like to end up in a walkable place. while i love the idea of space and quiet, we've learned from our experience in our current neighborhood that no matter where you go where you *think* you'll have a quiet spot, some city official will decide it's a brilliant idea to put a road to the casino in front of your house.

or some such crap.

and, truth be told, my heart has always been in walkable little communities. my favorite spots to visit are that kind of place ... a quiet walk or bike ride to pick up coffee or something from a bakery, or to pop into a little shop or eat lunch at a quaint cafe. we've said that we'll get through harper's high school years and then likely downsize, and to me, downsizing is an all-encompassing idea of making life slower and easier, which includes (in my mind) less yard work. and a sweet little lot in an old neighborhood just won't have a huge yard; a big plus in the pro column.

that doesn't make the yards any less lovely, though. i mean ...

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(okay ... that last house isn't exactly "quaint" or "downsized", but the yard IS charming.)

walking around gave us a lot to think about. there are definitely cons as well as pros, and luckily we have time to mull it over. about seven years, to be exact.

(unless that new road makes our life hell, and then all bets are off.)

anyway ... after we got home, the remainder of the day was quiet and nice. i get pretty freaked out when i think about how quickly time is moving, and how our lives will change so much in two years, then seven, and then who knows ... so it was nice to just appreciate being with the kiddos for the day. mother's day may no longer look like this ...

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(and yes, that makes me really sad sometimes)

but it does still look like this ...

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and as long as i have these two, it's a good day.


mothers day wish list

it has come to my attention that mothers' day is coming.

(actually, i was informed of the date after i registered harper for a swim meet that would take place on the holiday, and when i told my family what i'd done, they gave me so much trouble that i had to un-register her.)

(whoops.)

anyway ... i'm gonna pretend that we are fancy holiday-remembering, gift-giving people, and make a list of my dream mothers' day ideas:

 

"gilmore girls"-inspired candles. because, SO. MUCH. YES.

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inspired room and color at home coloring books. because while coloring books are amazing, house coloring books are amazinger. and especially house coloring books created by melissa michaels and the petersiks.

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an extra large planter for my aloe, whom i affectionately call The Kraken, and who desperately needs a new, extra large home.

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this print, from rifle paper co., because chicago will always mean something to me.

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and i could really *really* use a new camera bag

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and what is mothers day without a beautiful bouquet of flowers? and this bouquet from my favorite flower shop is pretty much perfection:

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or maybe a meaningful piece of jewelry?

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chances are, my mothers' day will look a lot like years past: sleep in (i'll still be up before everyone else, and if i'm lucky i'll make it to 8:00 a.m.), quiet coffee, lunch in south minneapolis, a walk around lake harriet to look at flowers and houses, and then who knows where the rest of the day will go ... a good book? a nap? yard work?

anything is possible.

but if i have my kiddos and mchotness, that's all i really need.

(though those coloring books would be pretty awesome ...)

 

 

 

 

 

 


a florida room

have you ever checked out the real estate firm douglas elliman? if you are a house voyeur like i am, this company is the holy grail, especially for dream vacation living. my usual preferred style is more new england (which they represent), but after returning from florida i'm fully immersed in vacation/summer daydream mode, and wishing for a tropical escape. and their florida listings are phenomenally inspirational.

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a vacation isn't happening any time soon, and on top of that we are back to the drawing board on the screened-in room situation for our own outdoor escape at home. i know its primary function will be for outdoor dining sans bugs, but it would also be nice to have a sort of florida room ... a type of sun room or sun porch ... a room that is open to breezes during the warm months. a place to relax and stay cool on hot summer days. and as soon as i think about a breezy room for escaping the heat, my brain immediately goes, "the great gatsby."

what?? follow me on this.

remember when nick visits tom & daisy at the beginning of the book? (i'm not the only nerd here, right?) the description of where he first encounters daisy and her friend, jordan, is where my mind went:

We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house.

i love fitzgerald. can't you just imagine such a room, and such a day? all of the windows on our home's main floor have white linen curtains, and there is nothing more peaceful than sitting on the couch while those curtains move in the breeze. maybe i had gatsby in the back of my head when i chose them ... maybe because i'd been perusing those douglas elliman houses ...

but back to the florida room. my brain starts to swirl it all together: gatsby, sun room, indoor/outdoor, water and wind, relaxing. and i just assume my backyard looks something like this ...

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and this ...

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so my perfect florida room would be a little tropical, a little new england, a little fancy, and a lot unfussy and casual.

 

something like ...

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let's assume that our florida room opens onto a patio, to have that indoor/outdoor element. and there are tall windows on two or three sides, which would of course be clad in long, white, floaty, linen curtains. you need comfy seating, so a soft indoor/outdoor couch is perfect for indestructible lounging. then you have the rattan daybed with soft pillows ... just the place for a summer nap. and the swing chair would be a great spot to curl up and read "gatsby" again. above you is a woven-blade ceiling fan, to assist the breeze on warm days.

a jute rug on the floor and a shuttered cabinet, to hold board games and extra books and blankets, have that beach cottage personality. of course there is a bar cart, for summer refreshments, and a coffee table on which to prop up feet or play one of those board games. by the daybed is a ghost table that mimics the classic design of the coffee table, but is 'now you see it/now you don't' to keep the room feeling light. throw pillows (that green kate spade one has the statement "this is the life" on it. perfect for a room whose soul purpose is relaxing!) and a pouf give the room softness and a little color, while the art on the bright white walls give even more color, as well as a vacation vibe. especially that aaron chang water photograph ... spectacular! looks like you can dive right into it.

simple sconces would light the corners of the room, while accent lamps on the cabinet give extra light during evening hang-outs. pretty vases bring out the green in the artwork, and a fresh bouquet of flowers from the bouqs and a fiddle leaf fern bring in the natural element.

and when you tire of all that comfortable lounging, you walk out onto the patio and head straight for that pool!

good idea?

 

 

sources:

outdoor couch: restoration hardware

daybed: serena & lily

ghost table: wisteria

pillows: serena & lily, etsy, kate spade

swing chair: pier 1

curtains: crate and barrel

cabinet: overstock

coffee table: maine cottage

ceiling fan: lamps plus

art: aaron chang

sailboat print: minted

watercolor: minted

pouf: annie selke

bar cart: wayfair

kantha blanket: imogene + willie

lamp: maine cottage

sconces: lamps plus

ice bucket: furbish studio

rug: west elm

flowers: the bouqs

vase: jill rosenwald

 planter: crate and barrel

 

 

 

 

 

 


changes coming

i mentioned awhile back (uh ... almost a year ago) that harper is done with a "girly" room, and is ready to move on to more age-appropriate decor. her request: a wolf den. my suggestion: maybe not so much "wolf den" but more "cozy and less white".

and 10 months of nothing happening, we're finally in plan mode.

we still love the cole & sons birch trees wallpaper, but now there is a new horse in the race:

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that's cute, right?

upside: removable, so less work when she changes her mind again, and perhaps less expensive because we can hang it ourselves. however, i just looked into a removable wallpaper for the main floor bathroom, and that option wound up being more expensive than hiring someone to paper the room. so i'll have to do the math on this one. it would be only one wall, though, so i have hopes that it will be the cost-effective way to go.

she's already said that she really likes this bed from wayfair ...

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so we're getting somewhere.

a new dimension in this plan, though, is that she starts middle school in the fall. which means she will be getting up and in the bathroom at around 6:15 every morning. and henry's bed shares a wall with the bathroom.

and harper isn't always subtle or quiet.

i approached henry with the idea of switching rooms, and with all the sentimentality he could muster, he responded, "i don't care. i just need a bed and bookshelves."

his only concern was could he still have his ceiling light. because apparently he really likes his ceiling light.

10-4, buddy. we're good to go.

so now the plan is to completely gut both rooms of stuff after school is out, and do a switcheroo.

Bedrooms

we have only two more years with henry in this house, so while i would love to update his bedding, the truth is he really doesn't care what his room looks like, and is there any reason to change bedding at this stage of the game? jury is still out. (you probably know what i would like to do.)

however, i've started to gather a little "new room for henry" inspiration anyway. because, of course.

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we bought a campaign dresser and nightstand off craigslist last year, i've been dragging my feet on painting them until i knew exactly where they would go and what color to use. henry is definitely a blue/purple/black/gray guy, with what i would say is a modern/clean vibe, so i'll have to factor that in and make the modern and mid-century looks blend.

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nine weeks of school ... nine weeks of planning and ordering ... and we'll be ready to go!


well THAT escalated quickly

one month ago, i wrote that we were almost done with swimming - sectional finals were that night, maybe state ... we were close to a break.

well ...

we had sectional finals. henry was sitting in a great spot going into the meet. and then right before warm-ups, he was in the bathroom and a teammate kicked the stall door in ... literally onto henry's head. a one-plus-inch bleeding gash in the top of his head. when the coach finds you and says, "have you talked to henry? i don't think he needs stitches, but you might want to check on him ...", you know it isn't good.

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we got the bleeding to stop, but he was off his game for the meet. while his individual events suffered, he brought it when it came time for the relays.

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he helped his teams place fourth in one relay and second in the other, earning spots at state the following weekend.

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so another week of swimming later, we went to state. and to make it more fun, it was the same weekend that harper swam at the minnesota regional championships. and my parents came up so they could cheer on both kids. we watched five different meets over three days. it was amazing.

(that was sarcasm.)

but actually, it WAS amazing, because the kids did an awesome job. henry got bumped from one of the relays so four seniors could swim it, which felt right even though it was a bummer. (and henry used that free time to provide comic relief. as always.)

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but he kept his spot in the 400 free relay, and they placed fifth in the state.

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and harper swam seven events in two days, and dropped time in all but one.

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but wait!! there's more!!

henry had gotten so close to a junior nationals cut time in three events (he actally HAD gotten the times, but in relays, so they didn't count) that he jumped back to club swimming to ALSO swim MRCs the day after state ended, time trialing to see if he could get the cut in any of the events. he ended up .3 seconds away in the 50, and .2 away in the 100. close, but not enough.

which meant the following weekend we went back to the pool at the university of minnesota so he could swim at senior state to try and get those cuts. and on saturday, he got one: 48.25 in the 100 free ... .3 faster than the needed time.

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he was beyond thrilled and so proud of himself. which, he should have been. he wanted it, and he made it happen.

but that meant that on saturday afternoon, we had to make plane tickets and a hotel room in florida happen, because junior nationals would start three days later.

sunday was a quick shopping trip, when we realized henry had no shorts that fit, monday was laundry, and tuesday ...

well, tuesday was harper's 11th birthday.

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we had breakfast, then henry and i headed to the airport. (and i felt just awful. how do you pick one kid's event over another? ugh. unwinnable choice, right there.)

for the next five days, henry swam in four individual events (the one he made the time for, and three bonus events) and five relays at junior nationals. which is crazy. he's been swimming less than five years, and he made it to junior nationals. that felt like kind of a big deal. we were down there with 12 other kids, the coaches, a few of the parents, and it was a really fun experience.

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the 15-16 boys relays placed fourth in one relay, and fifth in another, which i thought was a pretty great way to walk out of the meet. and henry is already focused on getting more cuts for more events next year. the kid has goals, now, and he's focused.

which means he's growing up. and that's both weird and exciting.

the past two weeks have been pool-free, which lasts until ... well ... monday.

and then off we go again.


self-imposed break

so - hiya.

i've been taking a break from blogging, but not for any sort of big secret reason. i've just been too busy.

there are a million things to do during the day ... really exciting things like laundry! and cleaning the kitchen!! and making food for my family, who never stops eating!!

we've been spending our lives at the pool over the past three months, between high school season and harper's club season. but that is finally winding down. tonight is high school sections final, and this guy ...

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is in two relays, in 16th place in the 500 free (which isn't even an event he does well with or *likes*), and is in 9th in the 200 freestyle - and about a second away from a state cut in that event. he really wanted this to be his year to make it to state in an individual event, he just thought that event would be the 50 free or the 100 free; the 200 and 500 were never on his radar. but he's put his head down and worked hard to make the most of new events, and it is paying off in the 200.

(truth be told? i'm nearly sick to my stomach with anxiety for him. i want him to make the cut SO. BADLY. his heart was a bit broken when he found out he wouldn't be swimming his best/favorite events this season, and he felt a little blindsided by that. and to get so close in a different event ... well ... you mamas know how it is. you want your kids to succeed and reach their goals, especially when they work so hard, and for him to do it in an event he never considered would be so amazing. i'm definitely a ball of nerves going into finals night, though ... i mean, one second!! one! gah!!)

and if he doesn't make the state cut? well, he'll attempt another event at the club regional championships next weekend, and he should have three events at club state - and maybe some relays? - in two weeks. and then he's free until may.

and this girl?

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she has a full line-up this weekend at the minnesota achievement champs, a busy weekend next week at the regional champs, and then she will get a break until may.

which means we ALL get a break until may!

dinner at a regular time! homework finished before 1 a.m.! no more loads of towels and swim suits and warm-ups in the laundry every three days! no more weekends of bleacher butt!

and in between all of this swimming, henry turned 16 (more about that soon ... i'm still processing ...) and went to another dance with his girlfriend. yup ... they are still going strong!

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sadly for them, now that he will finally be able to have some time to spend with her, she starts softball and won't have time for him. it's probably why they're still together ... they never, actually, get to spend time together. and isn't that really how we decide we don't like people anymore? by spending time with them?

is that just me?

and coming in march is harper's birthday (11! seriously ... kids grow up too damn fast.) and a visit from my parents and spring break, after all that swimming.

(the ides of march are looking pretty attractive this year.)

and then i will be back.