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July 2012
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September 2012

time flies

in two weeks, the kids will be sent back to school.

(no, i will not apologize for not boo hooing about that. they need school. i need school. school is good.)

right now, we are trying to find something productive and interesting to do with our days to get us through. we've hit the apathetic level with our days and outing ideas. now, play dates seem to be the big thing to keep it sane around here. there are a few plans left on the docket, but we'll see how things pan out.

however, as i look ahead to harper starting second grade and henry starting seventh, i can't help but think how quickly the past seven years have gone. most days the kids are content being with each other, hanging out, playing on the computer or talking about the computer. (typically, mine craft is the topic of conversation.) and, really, they've always been happy to be with each other.

but i know that may start to come to an end. the gap in their ages - and, to be fair, their gender - will widen in the coming years.

harp already gets weepy when she thinks of henry going off to college and leaving her, but i don't have the heart to tell her that he will probably pull away from her sooner than that.

they may still come together over computer games or whatnot, but the more likely scenario is that he'll continue to get into his own things, he won't want to hang out with his little sister, his schedule will keep him away from us more, adolescent hormones will kick in and he'll withdraw from us (and she will become an even bigger drama queen; god save us all.), there will be friends and jobs and swimming and girls ...

and harper will always be five years behind.

no, i'm not excited to think of the drama of the coming years. however, i know that on the other end of that, they will both become adults, and suddenly the age gap will disappear. and they will be closer than ever.

knock on wood.


i'm just not in a rush for that "growing up" to happen as quickly as it has already.

gone (went) fishin'

since the heat wave finally broke last week, we have found ourselves outside quite a bit. suddenly the ideas of the park! and bikes!! and walks!!! are good ones.

marc headed to the garage one afternoon, and emerged with all of his fishing gear. he spent the next hour outside, getting it all cleaned up and re-strung. then he said, "we're going to get bait, then we're going fishing."

okay then.

(this was actually a smart idea. my dad and his brothers have gone fishing Up North every year for, like, the last 102 years, and the rule is that once a boy in the family reaches 13, he's allowed to come. the Roush Family Right of Passage Into Manhood or something like that. i don't know. i don't have the right chromosomal make-up to be invited. regardless, henry hits that milestone next year and will get to go ... the boy needs to put in some serious fishing time before then.)

so in the car we went, to buy worms ("ammo for fishing," harper called them. which, truth be told, is pretty accurate.) and then head to our lake.

the sun was just starting to go down, and marc had high hopes for catching something.

he got harper going with her pole ...

then got henry and himself all squared away.

for the first ten minutes or so ... nothing. harper go cranky and antsy and started banging around. the guys told her to knock it off because she was scaring the fish. she argued back that there were no fish. the boys responded with exasperation, "because you're scaring them all!"

it was lots of fun.

then ... henry caught a bluegill.

and then another. and then he snagged a crappie, but couldn't land it.

this gave harper hope (even though she was totally bitter that her brother was catching fish and she wasn't.), so she persevered. and then ... she caught a fish.

and then henry caught one ... then harper ... then henry had another ...

a school must have arrived, because as soon as a kid would put a pole in, the fish bit.

poor marc didn't even get a chance to really fish. no sooner did he cast, then a kid had a fish and needed him. a few times, marc was helping one while i had to help the other. there were too many fish.

a good problem, i guess.

soon, the sun officially set and the mosquitoes came out and that was the end of the fun. in all, about 16 bluegill and one crappie were caught over the course of the hour. a successful outing, and now henry is one step closer to going Guy Fishing next summer. (the other steps involve preparing him mentally and emotionally for things like no running water, no internet, and skinny-dipping in the freezing water ... with his dad and grandpa and great uncles ... to bathe.)

a little here, a little there

since the other house sold at the end of june, we've just started to feel like we're coming out of the double-mortgage abyss. granted, we're still technically paying for it, but now there's some breathing room. which is good, because the next four months are not going to be cheap. (back to school stuff, holidays, an out-of-state trip for a wedding, etc.)

however, i've started to feel like i can add a little more to the house now and then, to make it more homey in areas. the first thing i wanted to fill in was our empty entryway.

i knew that i wanted a piece by the stairway, but what i wanted, i had no idea. a dresser? a table? something industrial? something old?

then i was browsing craigslist one day (like i do way more often than i'd like to admit), and happened upon a listing for a "spoon-carved antique three drawer dresser." the listing gave the measurements, and i ran to the entry with tape measure in hand. the dresser would be the perfect size. i contacted the seller, got more details and an address, and that weekend we loaded into the car for a 90 minute drive into the boonies of wisconsin.

the sellers lived in an adorable light yellow cottage, next to a barn and a field. all good signs. we chatted for a bit, then looked at the dresser. beneath the years of neglect from living in a barn, it was still a beauty. a little wobbly, and some drawer issues that would have to be addressed, but i could see the potential.

we paid the nice couple (admittedly, i should have haggled more. i'm terrible at haggling.), loaded it into the car, and smelled the smell of old wood all the way home. it was heavenly.

i contacted an antique restorer to make it solid again and ready for painting. three weeks later, the dresser was back and ready for some paint. one coat of primer and two coats of shagbark olive later, it was done.

and it completes the entry perfectly.

the dresser has that legitimacy of an antique that help bring more "farmhouse" into my "farmhouse," and everytime i walk by it i still get a whiff of "barn." it makes me smile. however, the metal and cement knobs from anthropologie give it a bit of an industrial edge that helps the dresser fit in and not become too precious.

(props to marc for finding the knobs ... they're perfect! i was focused on turquoise dangly ones ... these are ever so much better.)

it still needs to be "styled" a bit ... bigger art, maybe a small bowl or something ... and at some point i will line the drawers and use it to store mailing supplies, maybe candles and all the small things like matches and picture-hanging hooks, etc., that are taking over a kitchen drawer. but for now it works, and works wonderfully.

(lamp: ikea, wood bowl: target, glass floats: pottery barn, sea potpourri: pottery barn, minnesota watercolor print: katie daisy.)

and it helps to finally bring a bit more color into the house. now i'm ready to start focusing on the great room and wii room. adding a bit to them is finally in my sights. those chiang mai pillows may become a reality soon, and from there i'm starting to figure out the palette for the wii room:

(photo via cannelle et vanille)

can't wait to start warming up the white with color, and filling the house with Us.


so ... the "exciting" stuff

the other day i mentioned that the last weekend had been "exciting."

here's why.

remember when i told you about henry's upward trajectory of improvement and involvement in swimming this year? well, a week after that swim meet, we attended the C finals meet. he qualified in a couple of events.

one of those events was the 50 meter freestyle. he was seeded in 32nd place.

then he swam it.

he improved his time so much that he won the event. won. kicked 31 other kids' times out of the way.

so, wow, right?

after that, we knew the summer session was pretty much over. there were the A/B finals the next weekend, which henry didn't swim, and then the state meet at the U of M the following weekend. so we took it easy ... he took a week off of swimming to just chill. then he took a week off for a fencing camp.

well, in the middle of that second week, i got a call from his coach. he said, "sooo ... you know that henry is in two relays at state this weekend, right? we haven't seen him at practice, so i wanted to make sure you knew about it ..."

uh ...

turns out, that 50 free time of his got him on the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. and we didn't know about it. and he hadn't been practicing.

so we quick got him in three more practices, then headed to the U at 6:45 a.m. saturday morning.

the atmosphere was amazing. i think henry was truly in awe of the size of the natatorium at the U, and the amount of kids wandering around. he was nervous, but soon he got with his team, did his warm-ups, and settled in.

most of the kids who were there from his team swim in the level just above where henry swims, so he didn't know any of them. luckily, during warm-ups there were some times to be silly and relax. like when all the girls danced the macarena and the boys tried to hide:

(sidenote: people still know the macarena?! huh.)

then practically every one of the 300+ 13 & under swimmers in the arena danced along to YMCA.

not henry, mind you. he may take after his mom in the pool, but when it comes to dancing, he's all his father. ie, he doesn't. but he did crack a smile, at least.


(oh, and how cool is this? the meet was selling olympic caps - with "lochte" and "phelps" printed on them. there were also caps that said "bootsma" ... rachel bootsma is a local girl who just graduated from high school and made the olympic team. all the girls on the team sitting in front of me were wearing "bootsma" caps. i don't know if they swam for her old club, or if the girls were just supporting a local hero. either way, it was fun to see.)

then it was time to get down to business.


i know he was nervous and overwhelmed, and he'd been having trouble with his goggles coming apart at the nosepiece during starts, which made him pretty tentative off the blocks. but he did a great job. and his 200 medley relay ended up placing 10th. (don't know about the other relay ... the results weren't up before we left.)

he was proud of himself, and i think the fact that he even made it to state his first year out put a little extra sparkle in his eye.

and then ... then ... more exciting.

not only was henry a swimming fool that weekend, but harper also had a fun meet at her swim school.

her pool is about 20 yards long, and because it's a school, there was an instructor in every lane keeping an eye on the kids. but that harper ... she swam in four events.

a "50" free ...

a "50" backstroke ... during which she gave me a big smile before as she turned ...

(the kid smiles the whole time she swims. i love it.)

then a surprise "25" butterfly ...


which we didn't know she was swimming, but she got 2nd place in her heat!

and then she turned right around and headed back for a "100" IM ...

amazing. she kicked little kid booty. and had a blast.

icing on the cake is that my mom was in town for a work event, and had been planning to head home on friday, but was able to extend her visit by a day to go to both events. the kids were thrilled. they never get grandparents at any of their events, so i know her being there meant a lot to them both.

it was an exhausting day for them both, but i think the excitement of it all kept them going. my little swimmers.