Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Favorite/Least Favorite Olympic Moments (So Far)


So sorry about the lack of posts this week.  My parents are up here visiting, and I am crazy-busy entertaining and being the world's biggest Olympic geek.  I've got to say, if the Olympics ended today, I'd be completely happy.  Some of my *very favorite* athletes have already found success, and I couldn't be happier for them!  Brendan Hansen (above) came out of retirement, trained his butt off, and won a bronze medal in the 100 breast. Yahoo!! I met Brendan 4 years ago at Trials.  He is one of the most down-to-earth and humble people I have ever met.  He is a fantastic ambassador for the sport of swimming. 

I also met Matt Grevers (below) at Trials.  He swam at Northwestern with my friend, Mike.  I have been a huge Matt Grevers fan since 2008.  He is the nicest guy.  Seriously.  I am so happy that he is taking home a gold medal for the 100 back.  Way to go, Matt!  You deserve all good things that come your way!
And how 'bout that Missy Franklin?!?  Woo-Hoo!  An individual gold in the 100 back!  What a rock star--and a total warrior!  As a swim coach, I know how hard it is to do back-to-back events at a meet.  Missy made it look easy!  Congratulations!!
 And now for my least favorite moment--watching this sweet champion cry after she found out she wasn't going to compete in the all-around:
Poor thing!  I do not understand why only 2 athletes from each country can compete in the all-around.  Especially when she came in 4th overall.  You are a champion, Jordan.  You have so much to be proud of!

How about you--what are your favorite moments so far?

Gosh, I just love the Olympics!!


Friday, July 27, 2012

I Triple-Heart the Olympics!

Hi Friends!

Today is one of my *very favorite* days--Olympic Opening Ceremonies Day! Yahoo!   I am a hard-core Olympic junkie. Hard. Core. I’m one of those freaky people who watches every possible minute of coverage--from when the athletes parade in with their teammates to the big ‘ole party parade at the end. I love watching the competition and never miss medals ceremonies (bonus points for athletes who cry during the National Anthem).

I have an uncanny ability to remember even the most obscure details from those emotional “Up Close and Personal” profiles. I love those profiles! Remember Elaine Zayak, the skater who was missing part of her foot? The one who skated like a goddess but had trouble with the “compulsary figures” section? How about the tour of swimmer Mel Stewart’s ”bachelor pad?” I’ll never forget Mel showing the audience his little entryway and saying, “Chicks dig hardwood.” Ah, the things we learn about our Olympic heroes!

For me, nothing compares to the two weeks of the Olympics. From the Opening Ceremonies to the Closing, I always get completely sucked in. Of course it goes without saying that when I was young, I so, so, so wanted to be an Olympian.

My first dream was to be an Olympic gymnast. I could do one heck of a cartwheel and my penny drop off the monkey bars was second-to-none. I was sure I had what it took to bring home the gold for the USA. Unfortunately, by the time I hit 6th grade, I was already 5’8. My dreams of being a tiny gymnast (sadly) came to an end.

Undeterred, I shifted my focus to ice skating. I was pretty sure that no one in the world was as glamorous as an Olympic ice skater. I mean the costumes alone were enough to make me forget all about that gymnastics dream. Plus, ice skating had better music. My favorite part (besides the sequined costumes) was that fans threw flowers and stuffed animals onto the ice. Glamorous sequined costumes and flowers and stuffed animals??? I was hooked. I practiced and practiced and practiced on the bumpy pond by my house. I lobbied for stating lessons. Sadly, ice skating lessons were not in the budget and my dream of gathering up roses after my flawless performance came to an end.

I think that’s about when I decided I was destined not to be an Olympic gold medalist, but rather, a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. But that’s a story for another time.  Fast forward to 2008.

Somehow the stars and the moon and the planets all aligned and I found myself at the Swimming Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. Talk about geeked out! I was writing a little blog for Swimnetwork.com as “Obnoxious Swim Mom” when my boss asked if I’d like to go and cover the Trials for Swimnetwork.  Are you kidding me?!?  Of course I jumped at the chance!  As a coach and swim mom, I was more than familiar with many of the athletes. Here was my chance to see them up close and personal! They gave me credentials and everything:

With my magical credentials, I was able to watch Michael Phelps and Dara Torres and Ryan Lochte from the front row. I literally had to pinch myself. As an added bonus, I got to put on a LZR suit and race in the OLYMPIC Trails pool (top picture). It was definitely a trip of a lifetime and probably as close as I could have ever hoped to get to the Olympics.

Oh! And by the way: I met Olympic gold medalist, Mel Stewart. Super nice guy. He’s happily married and father to a cutie named Bailey. He no longer needs to impress anyone with his hardwood entryway. : )

I’m sure the next two weeks are going to be filled with tons of memorable moments of athletic goodness. I can’t wait to see as many of them as I possibly can. Here’s to the next two weeks of Olympics! Go USA!  As for me, I’ll be rooting extra hard for this young lady:
Because, really? How could you not love the adorable, humble, super-talented Missy Franklin?



PS  Team Lochte

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Around Here...

Around here...my strawberry plants are pretty much done producing.  I was excited to find this one last beauty yesterday.
Around here...my cheery tomatoes are ready to eat.  I love Sungold cherry tomatoes.  I eat them like candy.
Around here...I had a Rt. 44 Diet Cherry Limeade from Sonic yesterday.  I was so good--pretty much a little bit of heaven.  We don't have a Sonic around us, but yesterday we found one in Green Bay while we were up there scouting out antique stores.  Mom and Dad are coming up next week, and I wanted to find a few new stores to take my dad to.  Mission accomplished!

What's going on where you are?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One of Each, Please

Hi Friends--

I have a serious crush on Jan Skácelík's Etsy shop, Handz ReStyleshop.  The colors...the designs...the witty messages.  Sigh.  Design perfection.  I want to cover the walls of my office with his work.

Which is your favorite?



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Project Life Update//July 16-22

 Hi Friends,

I'm back on schedule, and I'm still loving the whole Project Life adventure!  Speaking of adventures, the kids and I tried to stuff as many adventures into last week as possible (John was in Russia).  We kicked off the week at Noah's Ark--a huge outdoor water park.  The trip was for the NHS Swim Team, but Jack got to tag along too.  I couldn't leave him at home on his birthday, could I???  All the high school girls love Jack.  Seriously.  You would never know he was so much younger than them. : )
 We also went on a reading adventure and a trip to Madison.
 As always, there were swim team adventures--we did our annual "kidnap a swimmer" practice, and also got together to paint T-shirts.  I can't believe there is only 2 more weeks of summer swim left!
Another good week is in the books!


Monday, July 23, 2012

T-shirt Making Party

Hi Friends!

Last night my swimmers came over to decorate the back of their team shirts.  Do you like to play with fabric paint?  My swimmers sure do!  You wouldn't believe how intricate some of them get with their designs. 
 I bought a brand-new multi pack of fabric paints and let them create.
 Every shirt is different.  I like it that way.

 Pretty much everybody ends up putting each team member's name on the back of their shirts.
 Except for these two:
Arts and crafts is not their favorite thing.  They both painted the back of their shirts, but they both kept the paint to a minimum.
 Emily, Jordan, and Julia were not afraid of the paint:

 (Look how big my name is on the back of Jordan's shirt!!)  : )
I love our team's tradition of painting the back of our team shirts.

My swimmers are the best.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Project Life Update//July 8-15

 Hi Friends!

In between Jack's birthday celebrations and 2 trips to Madison this week, I didn't get my Project Life layout done until yesterday, so that's why you're seeing this on a Sunday instead of a Tuesday.  July 8-15 was a pretty full week--filled with fun swim team events and birthday parties.
 Jack was actually gone all week--having the time of his life down with Grammy and Grampy.  I included a couple of e-mails he sent me and his activity schedule:
 On Saturday, Jack had his birthday party, and on Sunday the five of us went down to the Paine Art Center to see the Ansel Adams Masterworks collection.  John is a big fan of his work.
 Because John was leaving for Russia on Monday, Jack's actual birthday, we decided to celebrate on Sunday when we got home from the museum.  Jack was pretty darn excited about opening his gifts a day early!  : ) 
I decided I'm going to try and add a small section each week that highlights something I heard during the church service.  I always take lots of notes during service and then wonder what to do with my bulletins. 

I'm already working on last week's layout so that it's ready for Tuesday.



PS I'm linking this up with Jessica over at The Mom Creative.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Around Here...

I am busy painting pigeons on purple T-shirts.  So cute!



Friday, July 20, 2012

Adventures in Madison

 Hi Friends!

So today the kids and I filled up the gas tank and headed over to Madison.  I do declare that Madison, Wisconsin is one of my *very favorite* places in the whole, wide world.  It's filled with small businesses, little pubs and fun, open-minded people.  I would move there in a heartbeat.  Emily is seriously considering UW-Madison for her undergraduate degree and I'm secretly keeping my fingers crossed that she ends up there.
 Madison is one of those fabulous cities that is both the state capital and the home of the biggest university in the state. (Exactly like Austin, Texas, which is another of my *very favorite* cities).
 Every time I've gone to Madison, and I mean every single time, I've enjoyed myself.  And today was no different.  We didn't have an agenda at all--we just wandered down State Street and took in the sites.
 We stopped when we felt like it and peeked in some shops. 

 We didn't buy much at all.  In fact, the big purchase of the day was a key chain for Jack that looks and sounds like a laser gun when you squeeze it's tiny trigger.  I bought myself a key chain that looks and sounds like a camera when you push a tiny button.
 After we were done on State Street, we headed over to Ellas, a restaurant we all totally love.

 Ellas is packed-to-the-gills with vintage toys.  They hang from the ceiling and line the walls.  Every square inch of Ella's is involved in one way or another with the vintage toys.
Then it was time to hop back in the car and head home.

And in about an hour, we get to pick John up from the airport! Hooray! The perfect end to a fabulous day!



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kind of Like Goldilocks//Reading Date

 Hi Friends!

My kids and I like to go on reading dates.  We all love to read.  And sometimes, it's just better to read in public.  With a cup of tea and a cookie.  Jack got a Nook for his birthday, and he decided that we all needed to go on a reading date.  We headed over to a local coffee shop, decided on drinks, and settled in to read.
Except it was completely awful.  The coffee shop's air conditioning was out that day, and it was about 852 degrees in there.  It took about 7 minutes before we packed up and moved on.  No sense having a reading date in an uncomfortably-hot place, right?  We moved to another local shop, Aspen.  The kids and I have been there many times (mostly after swim practice), and we knew it would be a better reading date place.
 I ordered an iced tea and settled in to read.  Except, this place didn't work, either.  The cookie we ordered was...well...yucky.  I hate when you order a sweet treat and then end up with something that looks like it is stuffed with artichoke leaves and is lacking in any sugary goodness.  My crew wanted a sweet treat.  So we moved again...to Great Harvest...
where I bought a delicious bag of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the kids to eat.  The cookies got rave reviews.  I sipped my tea from Aspen, and we all settled in to read.  Until we realized how uncomfortably hot it was in Great Harvest.  I think we managed to make it about 15 minutes before the kids started melting. 

At that point, we decided to head home.  Where we read together.  In the air conditioned goodness. 

It was awesome.

There's no place like home.