Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Solstice 2017

I love to document the longest day of the year, for me it's as fun as Christmas only without the work, the planning, the expense and cooking.  There is always the potential for a beautiful long day of sun, some time at the pool and time with friends.  This one started out just that way, a beautiful morning at our summer pool, Springboard, where we had an optional 9-12 year olds swim practice before they went off to one of their last days of school.  The pool is just the right temp these days and I was in working with them on open turns for the upcoming Saturday meet.

Then I came home, grabbed Dubya and Bella and my girlie and we took the dogs for a lovely walk around our neighborhood.  They enjoyed reading the doggie newspaper and leaving their comments.  These two have a lot of comments on a lot of street corners, bushes, fences, mailboxes...they get out a lot. (side note you can follow them and their cushy lives on instagram @dubyaandbella )

Sarah's first 9 Round
Me and the
Birthday Girl 

Then, the rest of the day, and this post in my blog becomes more of a documentation of my dear friend Vanessa and her birthday.  I love that I have such a good friend who has her most important day on the longest day of the year (and I admit to being a little envious of it too.  I am the gal that states my own birthday is a holiday in our family).  The first stop with Vanessa was our new favorite gym, 9 Rounds and a 30 min workout with JT.  I had invited Sarah, who is home from college and is my awesome assistant swim coach at Springboard too.  30 minutes of burning calories, great music, lots of punching, burpees, kicks and planks.  We love this place!!

Had to head home and shower before I met up with Vanessa again for a lunch date with friends our our dear friend Beth Monroe, who was enjoying a stress free summer vacation after years of pouring her blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul into our children's school, St. Bernadettes.  Fun lunch catching up at El Paso and it wouldn't be complete without a little singing, sombrero and dessert for the birthday girl!

Had to finish up lunch and head home to play with the dogs and do some quick gardening.  I feel a little bad, the past three weeks we've been at Springboard every afternoon for swim practice and the dogs have been a little lonely, they are so sweet and live to play ball, and bark.  I also had to get my girlie and take her to swim practice.  She is having a good season, two competitive weeks and 4 weeks of outdoor training into the season, but that's another blog post in a few months.  Aren't these two dogs adorable?

I'm the head swim coach at Springboard Pool this year and thus I am my daughter's coach.  I think so far so good, she looks pretty happy at practice on the 21st right?  I had to snap a quick photo because I was leaving practice in Sarah's hands and heading out to dinner and a show for, yep you guessed it, Vanessa's continued birthday celebration.

Me, Tama (aka DJ Tricky Tama) and
 Here we all are at dinner, I think we did better than usual with 12 for dinner and 13 total for the show, which was RENT at the National Theater.  We only got seated 20 minutes later than our reservation time, none of it was our fault, it was obviously traffic going into DC.  Those tourist and everyone else out enjoying the Summer Solstice.  We ate at Old Ebbitt, an iconic and classic DC haunt and I think everyone else was eating there that night too.   Since it was still Vanessa's birthday we had to have a birthday dessert.  This dessert is a signature cake at Old Ebbitts; raspberry chocolate and it was delicious!! As you can tell by this point Vanessa was clearly saying, "No, no it's okay please sing happy birthday one more time."

Finally, with 14 minutes before the opening curtain we walked to the National Theater, took a few selfies and found our seats for the show.

And then, just like that, it was 10:30 pm, the show was amazing and sadly over and we managed to get one last group shot.  If any of the husbands had been with us most of these pictures would not have been possible.  We love them, but they do not roll like us when we are in a group and they do not understand the importance of a few pictures here and there.  ( I have at least twice as many pictures form this entire day that I didn't even use).

I love this day, June 21, and I love that I get to document it every year and I was able to spend so much of it with Vanessa and celebrate her day with her.  I love these gals I can call friends and am able to spend time with and have these crazy nights and adventures with too.  

I hope you enjoyed the 2017 version of Summer Solstice.   

Thursday, October 27, 2016

First We Get Dubya Then We Receive Bella = 2 Dogs!

Passing Dog Class
February playing in the snow for
the first time. 
When we adopted Dubya from Last Chance Animal Rescue I was hardly ready to have a new puppy, a new dog after losing Cool Dog Myles, but we all jumped in with enthusiasm and love.   He was this little 7 pound puppy full of love and oh so smart.  We had him for a little over a year and through trial and error we were making progress with him.  We could let him sleep in his kennel without the door shut, but we were still hoping every day he'd make 'smart choices' when we weren't home.  We had tried letting him be out of the kennel while gone but, again, smart choices weren't always what our very smart dog made.

Tired after a victorious Super Bowl
Dubya is smart though and he shows it every single day and he loves us and feels a strong desire to protect his turf and his family.  He has a slew of friends at A Dogs Day Out and a few good dog friends like Mazie (his first friend) and Sheamus and Finnegan, two brother dogs that  have a swimming pool.   He is so social, whereas Myles was never that way with other dogs, he loved people more.  But again, I was beginning to wonder if he'd every make 'smart choices' like don't chew Brad's shoe laces when we walk out the door, or McB's flip flop.   Small but annoying things that get him in enough trouble to keep him in his kennel while we are gone.


Now, about this time Brad's older son and our daughter in law were in the last weeks of pregnancy.  They were having a baby boy, preparing to move to Florida and had three dogs.  The biggest of their dogs was Bella a black lab.  Three dogs is a lot and add a new baby, being without a permanent place to live for two months and something had to give.  I had been wanting a black lab, much as I love Dubya he wasn't a lab and rarely felt remorse for bad decisions.  He just shook them off and went on to the next fun thing.  Bella ended up coming to us the first of June and it's been love all around since then.  She does feel badly if she does something wrong and then tries to make it up to you for the rest of the day.  She also has a loud and throaty bark that always surprises us coming from such a sweet little girl dog.

Bella has turned out to be a huge and wonderful addition to our Buzz Shack.  She and Dubya figured out how to walk with the double leash and have developed a pretty good routine.   They love each other and play nonstop with each other at home, at Mazies and at Doggie Day Care too.  The best part is Bella keeps Dubya out of trouble and Dubya reminds Bella to be a dog, relax and just have fun.  From the first day she was with us we stopped putting Dubya in his kennel and they have stayed out of trouble.

Here are just a few of the pictures of them together.  They are inseparable these days.  Laying on the floor resting, just hanging out waiting to go for a walk or our favorite times watching them together, playing at the neighbors swimming pool.  Below is a great example of them interacting.  Bella will spend all her time swimming and playing catch, meanwhile Dubya has zero desire to swim and will run around the edge simultaneously trying to get the ball from her and warning her 'danger danger, you're in water it can't be safe!' Ha ha ha, the joke is on him, everyone swims in our family.  He's even had to get in, he didn't like it but he did it.  

I think the pictures speak for themselves over the love she has brought to our family and how she has made Dubya a better dog.  In turn Dubya has made her feel welcome from the first moment she walked in the door and he jumped on her and wanted to wrestle. 

Bella diving in to get her tennis ball
Just another front dive to get her ball

Bella loves her time in the pool.  She loves her walks, playing at doggie day care, going for rides in the car (always in the backseat, Dubya calls shotgun a lot!) and cuddling on the bed with us.  She also loves to bark and jump up to say hi to everyone that walks in our door, don't worry though, we are working on those two small issues.  

Bella was able to get Dubya to at least get his feet wet.  Here they are sending McB off on her first day of 6th grade.  Occasionally they take her to school and get to see all the cool teachers.

At St. Bernadette's Catholic Church being blessed in October at the Blessing of the animals.  They were so good and loved seeing all the other pets. Plus I'd like to think it made them a little holier and better behaved??

A few parting shots of Dubya, happily laying on the patio enjoying a nice September evening.  Happy, relaxed, content and taking a break from a day of play.  He is a lucky dog, rescued at 10 weeks and then given a partner in crime in Bella.

Bella in one of the last pictures of her from the neighbors pool this October. Good swimming, good dog friends and a good life with us and Dubya.

We love them and I would never have thought to be dog parents to two but it's a blessing and all we have to do is love them and they take care of us.

You can follow their adventures on Instagram @DubyaandBella

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's been a year...but I have a good excuse or two!

I thought it had been a while but didn't' realize it had been a year without a single blog post.  I have to admit last September life handed me a very cool opportunity and I ran with it.  I would be remiss without adding that had my husband not decided to consult and be home full time, none of this would have been possible.  Let me now tell you the opportunities that led to me not blogging as much and instead diving back into the world of swimming 100%.  So...the swimming seems like a good diving off point to catch up and share my past year.

Stroke and turn officiating
at U of M, Junior Olympics
 I have been officiating at USA swim meets for the past few years doing both Stoke and Turn and Starting work.  Last year I decided to become N2 qualified, which means I am eligible to work bigger national type swim meets.   It also allowed me to get to know many of the officials I have been working with the past few years a little better and it turned out to be a great experience.  In fact, I am now going to try to become N3 certified, which means I get (need) to work national level meets outside our LSC, the Potomac Valley Swimming.  All the officiating work also allowed me to watch and learn from our head coach, Jeff, at meets that I wouldn't normally be at and NCAP rewarded officials for working so many sessions with pretty cool personalized backpacks too.  NCAP does a great job of taking care of their people, especially the volunteers like officials.

Hadley and I at a Mini Meet

This is where it really gets fun, and busy, I was offered the opportunity, by assistant head coach and team co-owner, Matt to come on board with J&M Swim/NCAP as an 8&U's coach two days a week.  It was the right offer at the right time since I knew I would be also coaching summer league in the NVSL the following summer.  I had had my coaching certification done for a while and so it was a fairly easy transition for me from sitting in the peanut gallery upstairs at Lee District Rec to being on the deck with Hadley.  Yes, totally won the 'if I could coach with someone who would it be' lottery.  I got Hadley and she was a huge source of information, guidance and laughs.  Plus instant friend too.  I did miss hanging with my mom friends upstairs, but Brad covered that by coming to watch swimming and partaking in the chatting and speculating that goes on up there.  Becoming part of the J&M/NCAP coaching family has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.  Besides coaching 8&U I have been able to help another group one morning a week, fill in for other coaches with older kids once in a while and help with the summer prep workouts once a week in the spring. Not only did it allow me to work with a variety of swimmers and abilities but also with many different coaches that helped me learn new ideas, remember some old ones and overall expand my coaching knowledge.  I look forward to doing all of those again and hopefully more.  In this field you never stop learning and you are always teaching.

Awesome Coach Ken
In addition to coaching with Hadley, we also had Coach  Ken in the lanes next to us and if I had questions I had him right there as well.  Between Ken and seeing Head Coach Jeff in the mornings, my head was literally swimming with information all year long . You see one of the bonus deals of coaching with NCAP/J&M is that you get to swim with Jeff's senior group in the mornings. Now, I say 'swim with' but really you have to 1. be in the pool at 4:30 am, yes that is AM as in it's still dark when you get done at 6 AM and 2. swim with means you're in an outside lane, sometimes without lane ropes or overhead flags but you get to learn from Jeff.  I could spend a whole blog just on the morning workouts but maybe another time.

Here is a picture of Coach Ken with my girlie after a great swim at NCAP Invite last December.  He has made a huge difference in our lives, both my coaching and her swimming.   He still continues to do so and helps both me and my daughter, even though she has moved up to a different group and has the fabulous Coach Katie now and Coach Emily one morning a week too.

Now, as I've entered my second full year of being an 8&U coach with Hadley we have a fun and ambitious group of swimmers eager to begin their swim careers, starting with us.  I've watched more online videos of drills, races and webinars than I thought I would.  I read up on drills, workouts and have even pulled out my workout logs from college practices with Earl at the U of Washington.  That said, there is no way I can convert any of his sets to work for 8&U's!  But, do I see potential in some of our swimmers? Yes, I do.  I am now, constantly trying to come up with ways to teach them not only how to do the strokes correctly but also how to fall in love with swimming like I did at age 7 and make it a part of their lives.  

So, did I miss blogging for the past year? Yes, but I had a pretty good reason.  More to follow both on coaching, swimming, dogs, dogs swimming and even a grandson and trip to Italy.  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Annual Tea Party before the Ellensburg Rodeo

I've never missed an Ellensburg Rodeo...ever and neither has my daughter, despite living across the country.  We all love the traditions and excitement that is celebrated every year at the rodeo and the chance to see old friends, make new ones and spend time with the family.  But what many don't know is the hardest and most exclusive invitation Labor Day Weekend isn't at the rodeo grounds, it's in my parents garage.  It's McB's tea party.

What's even better is that she has made a few bucks running this tea party.  You must respond to the invitation by marking a yes or no (the no really isn't an option she is just being polite).  Then you are required to return it, prior to the time of the party because when you check in at the party you are asked to pay, .50 cents this year.  Last year we paid $1 each, guess she was feeling generous last week. 

a view of the rock center piece in

Here are a few pictures of the table, we were at a card table, HUGE upgrade from last year when we sat at a small wooden table my uncle had made when I was her age.  We also had real glasses to drink out of and tea cups, which were washed this year.  She has really gone upscale.  Please note that McB is does an excellent pour, specialty flavored water!
We had cotton candy grapes, little specialty candy, nilla wafers and peanut butter, frosted animal cookies and home made chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.   Nice sugar high for us before the Friday night rodeo. 

Mac was also a guest at tea.  He had his own treats, and then of course he had a few from my mom the table...with the rest of us. 

Here are those delicious and over the top chocolate chip cookies that were fresh out of the oven.  McB took time out of her serving to pose for a few pictures with the guests.  Please note I am not kidding we are in the garage.

 This is where all the magic happens and where McB preps, samples and rests between serving us all the different courses.  This used to be at my grandpa and grandma's house and my sister and I spent hours playing house, kitchen, etc. with it and the very same tea cups and saucers we still use at the tee parties.  To the right you can see how tightly scheduled our tea is and believe me it ran to the minute.  (I do love this about my girlie, she loves a schedule just like me).

 This is almost the best part, when we are done, she presents us with the bill! She also reminds us that it is a cash only tea party since she doesn't deal in credit.  This year we got off with only $3.50 total for the five of us.  Luckily Grandpa Bill could afford it.

A toast to another fun filled Friday afternoon before the world famous Ellensburg Rodeo later that night.  Well done McB!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Our Crazy Fun Summer

 I thought our summer would be the usual...McB swimming, me juggling swim and a new dog along with teaching some swim lessons, a few nights out with the girls, and Brad when I could have him at home would join us.  But, luckily for us, he took the summer off and has been here at home.  It was such a nice treat and he was able to enjoy and live the entire summer swim team season, along with all the adult social activities we gals cooked up for everyone. 

I have a few pictures posted of Brad and two of the other swim dads he hangs with both for indoor and outdoor swim season.  They are obviously enjoying a cool glass of lemonade or ice water at the swim team end of year private party at the pool.   Here I am also enjoying some lemonade with some of my close girlfriends that same night.  It was a fun evening complete with the 10&U kids on top of the adults shoulders playing volleyball in the pool.  The evening ended with many of us mom's saying 'forget the rules' and wearing goggles on our faces down the slide! Yep, that's us, wild and crazy swim moms!  End of the season and totally out of control!

Like I said in my previous post, it's not a summer post without at least one (and we have way more than one) picture of McB and Ry so we needed a few of the moms together too.  Our annual pool selfie on the left and out to dinner at Walkers in our matching Eddie Bauer dresses with Brad on the right.  This was just in June....we have a whole slew of photos from this fun filled summer!

But, let me show you some of the other really fun nights we had at Springboard Pool or because of Springboard Pool. 

Here is one of our Friday Night Pasta Rally's this one was July 3 and the theme was obviously Red, White and Blue.  We took the opportunity to get a few family photos in. 

We spend a lot of time at the pool in general because it's fun, easy and we always see friends when we are there.  There is no shortage of kids for McB to play with and there is never a shortage of friends for me to chat with either.  We also spend a lot of time at the pool because of swim team and summer league and those are the friends we spend so much time with and thus the pool bonds us together.

 But since we're talking 4th of July...and I'm not too insecure to post this one on Facebook so I will put it here too.  I attempted and succeeded in doing the Ryan off the diving board on the 4th of July, in my 4th of July swim suit.  It was the first time anyone had attempted it and after about 3 tries I succeeded well enough.  The original owner of this move informed me my left hand wasn't exactly in position but for a mom I did okay.  I will take that and keep working on it for next summer. 

 As I said before, we spend a lot of time with our swim team family in the summer and here are almost all (missing a few in here because it was in the middle of the afternoon) of the swim moms hanging out at the bowling alley while the swim team has their annual bowling event.  Good food and a lot of uninterrupted chatting that afternoon. 

 Since my friend, Nessa, was a pool board member and in charge of activities, we were recruited to help with a lot of the events.  All fun for us, as you can see.  I brought my grandmother's embroidered aprons for us all to wear a few times.  This is our first Saturday "Welcome Back" dinner for the pool.  We served Red Hot and Blue and then sweated our fanny's off because the sun was at our backs and it was HOT! But you know what? Super fun too!

 We three mom's did manage to pull off the concert of the summer and take our girls to their first concert ever! It just happened to be the Taylor Swift 1989 Tour.  Huge fun for the girls and especially we three moms.  Great concert and Taylor's guest was Lorde, I think Marcia and I were more excited than the girls over that!

Our group likes to spend a lot of time reminiscing about the good old days in the 80's so it made sense that Nessa turned a Friday Night Social into an 80's theme night.  We had awards for best outfits, flare, music and movie trivia and of course my folks were in town so they won for best chaperones in the 80's because they spent a lot of time doing that back then!  Brad flipped his collar up but I will say there were quite a few guys that went all out and rocked the 80's look complete with mullets, boom boxes and some serious prepsters too!

Cheech and I testing out
one of the photo op

In August we got the aprons out again and this time had a Hawaiian Luau complete with lumpia (Filipino egg roll) a smoked pig, fruit and photo ops galore around the pool.  Here we are in my grandmother's aprons again, this time serving a Hawaiian meal. 

I tried to get a potential Christmas card picture of us, especially because McB and I love Brad's summer goatee, but I don't know if it worked of not.  I do know that people had a great time taking pictures. 

The whole 80's swim pool gang that
was in town and could make the game.
 I have mentioned our love of all things 80's and here we are just last weekend at the Nationals baseball game all dressed up ready to watch baseball and have a few beers.  A few of us even did 30 seconds of squats for a fee beer koozie.  Totally worth it, furr sure! We also enjoyed listening to the Legwarmers, an awesome 80's cover band that played in the stadium.

I managed to get a picture with Brad at the Dedication sign.  You can't really see it but we are pointing at our names as 10 year Nationals Baseball Season Ticket Holders.  (We've done our part now it would be nice to see them win it all, sooner rather than later too).

Finally I will end with this picture.  We try to get all of us together at least once a year, sometimes in swim suits and sometimes in swim team gear.  But this year we managed to be all dressed up for a surprise 50th birthday party at the pool.  Again, we are missing a few but you can see we are a fun group of gals.  We all love our pool and we love getting to spend our days together having fun, whether it's in or out of the pool.  The memories are awesome and I'm very lucky to have such wonderful women in my life.