Friday, June 29, 2012

A Brat Fry Goddess


Hi Friends!

Guess what!  I have officially gained "Brat Fry Goddess" status this week!  In exchange for water time, my club holds weekly Brat Fries over at the pool.  Last week, Emily, Maddie and I headed over to the pool as complete brat fry novices.  John talked us through the grilling process beforehand, but the truth is, we had no idea what we were doing.  The first fire we built was weak--and it took about an hour to get the first batch of brats cooked.  By that time, they were beyond chewy.  I spent the whole time wigging out about whether the brats were thoroughly cooked.  The entire city grounds crew came over to eat last week.  I was sure that I would end up poisoning the whole group.  Needless-to-say, I was quite relieved when I saw them at the pool the next day.

This week, however, we decided to parboil the brats ahead of time, and just use the grill to heat them back up.  And they were AWESOME--brat perfection!  Here's what I did:   bring one bottle of beer, 2 cups of water and a chopped red onion to a boil.  Then I carefully added the brats and boiled them for 15 minutes.  This week I used more charcoal and lighter fluid to get the grill nice and hot.  I didn't bother with building the pyramid of charcoal this time.  Once the charcoal was silver, we threw the brats on the grill for about 10 minutes until they were browned and fabulous looking.  They were juicy and delicious, and I didn't have to worry about them being raw.  Emily gave me the best compliment:  she said they tasted just like Dad's! 

Now that I've mastered the grill, it might be time to learn how to cut the grass*.  Pretty soon I'll know how to do all of John's jobs!  : )

XO,

Vicki

*Full disclosure:  I have no desire to learn how to cut the grass--I'm really glad John likes to do that. 





Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reading is Bliss


Hi Friends--

I love this quote by Nora Ephron.  I found myself nodding the whole time I was reading it.  I can't imagine my life without books, and I've raised my kids to feel that way, too. 

Have you read any of Nora Ephron's books?  She had a whole lot of good things to say about life and being a woman.  I loved "I Feel Bad About My Neck," and like everyone else, I adore "When Harry Met Sally."  She was a writer with a capital "W".  She will be missed. 

XO,

Vicki

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On Pool Time


Hi Friends!

It's Wednesday afternoon, and I'm feeling all caught up--for the moment, anyway.  The rest of the world slows down during summer, but summer actually kicks off my crazy-busy time of the year.  Summer swim season starts pretty much the first day of summer vacation and goes right into the girl's high school season.  Girl's season goes all the way into the first part of November.  From June-November, I am literally "On Pool Time".  It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of the year.  I love working with my swimmers.  I love the challenge of writing the right kinds of workouts, fixing strokes, and pushing my swimmers to accomplish their goals.  I love seeing their potential.  Every day is an adventure, and I wouldn't trade my coaching experience for anything in the world.

Life is good, especially on pool time.

XO,

Vicki

PS  I completely love that sign above.  I need to find a way to make it mine! : ) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Project Life Update//June 18-24

Hi Friends!

Here's last week's fun layout.  For the first time in forever, I didn't have a ton of pictures to try and fit into two pages.  In fact, I only had 4 good pictures from last week, not because we didn't have a fun week, mostly because I was so crazy busy coaching and writing workouts and writing workouts and coaching that I didn't have a whole lot of free time to take pictures.  : )  That's okay, though.  I kind of liked having more words than pictures this week.  I also liked that I had a few slots to stick quotes and other fun stuff.
Besides coaching seven (7!) practices last week, I also threw together our first team brat fry, which was quite an adventure. I learned a whole big bunch about grilling last week, which will hopefully help me this week.  I definitely didn't feel qualified to be serving grilled meet to anyone last week.  : )
Last weekend was so much fun!  I volunteered at a swim meet, had tea with Amy, and then we went to the Rusch's "Bacon Fest".  Sunday we went to a friend's house for dinner.  I love a weekend filled with laughter and friends, don't you?

Have a great day!

XO,

Vicki

Monday, June 25, 2012


Hi Friends--

I love that quote...don't you?  Wouldn't it be nice if we all left people better than we found them?  If we all nurtured and built up the people around us?  I want to make this quote one of my mantras.  Want to join me?

XO,

Vicki

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why Summer is Awesome//An Incomplete List


1. Blueberries
2. The Olympics
3. Boating
4. Long days
5. No school
6. Grilling
7. Maxi dresses
8. Lemonade
9. Mornings at the pool
10. Fruit salad
11. Breezy skirts
12. String lights on the deck
13. Freckles
14. Bike rides
15. Flip flops
16. Dinner on the deck
17. Drive-in movies
18. The smell of sunscreen
19. Sunshine
20. Garden fresh tomatoes
21. Farmer’s Market
22. Colorful pedicures
23. Shady trees
24. Grass
25. Reading outside


What would you add to the list?

XO,

Vicki


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The ABC's of What's On My Mind

a=Air conditioning.  It's so hot this week!
b=Blueberries at the farmer's market.
c=Camera--I haven't taken any pictures this week!
d=Dad's new car.  Can't wait to see the color!
e=Emily's insurance=over $1,000/year.  Yikes!
f=Family time needed tonight.  Maybe a board game?
g=Garden is full of strawberries.
h=Hot.  Gosh it is sticky this week.
i=Instagram envy.
j=Jack's hair.  It is so long.  I need to make an appointment to get it cut.
k=
l=Laps in the pool with Amy this afternoon.
m=Mom's Nook.  I hope she got it all straightened out.
n=Naps are necessary as I fight a darn summer cold.
o=Only 5 more letters to go (k,u,v,w,x) and I will be done with this blog.
p=Posters for tomorrow's brat fry are drying all over my dining room.
q="Quote Love" on Pinterest is my most popular board.
r=Raspberries are almost ready to pick!
s=Spaghetti sauce is defrosting on the stove for dinner.
t=Tan lines on my feet from coaching.
u=
v=
w=
x=
y=Yoga with the team--I need to get it on the schedule.
z=Ziplock bags--I go through so many of them during summer swim season.

Hmm...can't come up with anything for those last five...

XO,

Vicki

Quote Love

XO,
Vicki

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Project Life//June 11-17

 Hi Friends--

Another week is in the book!  Last week was incredibly hectic--we celebrated a birthday, hosted 2 parties, and worked at Swim Camp.  It wasn't until Christy arrived Friday afternoon that things slowed down a bit.  Once the party was over Friday night, it felt like summer vacation *officially* started for me.  I got to go to the farmer's market, and on Sunday we headed to the lake to celebrate Father's Day.  It felt great just to hang out with John, Maddie, Jack, and the Langenhahn's.
Of course, I had to do an insert for Emily's fun birthday celebrations:
This week I've shifting gears to just coaching my team.  Life feels way less hectic--I even made some homemade bread yesterday--yahoo!  Here's to days with nothing on the calendar!!

Hope you're having a great week!

XO,

Vicki

Quite Possibly the Best Thank You, Ever

 Hi Friends--

I admit it;  I am a total sucker for thank you notes.  I adore them. In fact, handwritten notes of any kind make my heart smile.  Last Saturday night, I received a thank you unlike any I have ever received.  The thank you came from Alex and his parents.  I have coached Alex for the last 5 1/2 years--he is one of my original swimmers from the very first team I coached.  He has followed me from Snowfox to Blue Phoenix to Big Pigeons.  I have worked with him in the water and on deck.  We carpooled together for pretty much every practice until he got his license.  We've travelled to away meets together.  We've trained together in the off-season.  He watched me detox from Diet Coke (needless-to-say, he will probably never develop a soda addiction), and I watched him recover from meningitis.  Without a doubt, we've spent a whole lot of time together.  And you know what?  I have enjoyed each and every minute of it.  I have watched Alex grow from a near-silent pre-teen to the leader he is today.

Alex is heading to University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.  Alex and his parents hosted the thank you dinner to honor all the people who made a difference in his life over the years.  They invited his Godmother, Shirley, his cello teacher, Chuck, (who is also his uncle), the man who supervised his volunteer projects at the nature center for the past 4 years, Sean, who coached Alex with me at Snoxfox and Blue Phoenix, and myself.  They hired a chef and served us an out-of-this-world dinner.  Alex went around the table and explained why each person was invited.  Then his dad went around the table and talked about how thankful he was for the role each of us played in Alex's life.  There was plenty of laughter and shared Alex stories.  At the end of the night, we were all handed a gift.  Alex and his parents created a photo collage for each of us, filled with pictures and quotes.  We each also received a handwritten note:
Greatest. Thank you note. Ever!

Thanks for a lovely evening, Alex, Sarah, and Dane. It has been nothing short of fantastic coaching and mentoring Alex over the years.  I know wherever his future takes him, Alex is going to find success;  he's just that fabulous.

XO,

Vicki

Monday, June 18, 2012

A+ Weekend!

 Hello!

Wow! We had  a completely jam-packed weekend--and it was awesome!  Friday was Emily's big "Sweet 16" party and my sister, Christy, came up to help her celebrate (YAY!).  Emily and her friends had a blast eating sweets and playing "Newcome" and hanging out.
They played outside until the bugs forced them indoors.  I love having the woods behind us...but hate all the bugs!  : )
Emily received a whole bunch of fabulous gifts...but my favorite had to be the T-shirt she got from Elijah (yay for Big Bang Theory!):
On Saturday, Amy and I met up at the Farmer's Market for a couple of hours while Christy took Emily clothes shopping.  I scored some beautiful asparagus, and Emily got a whole bunch of new, colorful summer clothes.

On Sunday, we met up with Amy and her family and took the boat out on Bear Lake.  The weather was perfect and so was the company!
The boys were so patient with me while I played with my camera on the sports setting.  I was working on getting the perfect jump-off-the-boat shot.  I think they each jumped a minimum of three times for me while I gave them direction, "No! Throw your arms up in the air and kick your legs up!" Here are my favorite shots:
I love my new camera!  And I love weekends that include plenty of family and friends!
Hope you had a great weekend, too!

XO,

Vicki

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birthday Fun!

Hellooo!

This is going to be short and sweet because I am knee-deep in Sweet 16 party prep, but I wanted to share a couple of pictures from yesterday and tell you that Emily passed her driving test with flying colors!  Yahoo!  I've already sent her to the store today to pick up a few things I forgot.  Best. Feeling. Ever!  It's a total a win-win:  she wants to drive (and Maddie wants to go with her), and I don't have to go to the store!

Last night a couple of Emily's friends showed up to kidnap her and take her out to celebrate.  They showed up at 8:20, and Emily was already in her jammies and brushing her teeth (today was the first day of early morning swim practice).  Check out how they showed up (LOVE IT!):
They completely crack me up.  They might look ninja-stealth, but they were actually pretty loud getting in the house.  Emily heard them before she saw them.  : )

More birthday fun tomorrow!

XO,

Vicki

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guest Bloggin'

Hey Friends--

Guess what!  I'm blogging over on the Club Scrap site today about the mini album I made with the Hoedown pictures!  Check it out here!

XO,

Vicki

Happy Sweet 16, Emily!


Dear Emily,

You were a beautiful baby, and you've grown into a beautiful woman. 
You're kind and generous and lovely. 
You are so much fun to be around.
I love being your mom.
Happy Sweet 16.

XOXO,

Mom

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Project Life Update//June 4-10

 Hi Friends!

Last week was all about finishing up the school year and welcoming summer.  Both Jack and Maddie had awards ceremonies last week.  I ended up shedding a few tears at Jack's ceremony--I can't believe I won't have any kiddos at Clayton next year!  Jack had a party to go to after school on the last day, so I took Maddie out to lunch, and then we picked up Emily and headed out to get "Kick off the Summer" pedicures--yay!
 We also harvested our first batch of strawberries from the garden.  They were so yummy!  The other big thing that happened last week was John's parents gave Emily a car (thank you!!).  I'm not sure who is the most excited, Emily or me--I am just days away from having another driver in the house.  I can't wait to turn over carpool duties to her!  : )
 I ended up with an insert this week,  I took a big bunch of pictures at Jack's Wacky Games:
And of our trip to Great America with our Godson, Preston.  We all had a blast playing at the water park and riding roller coasters.
Another week in the books!

What were you up to last week?

XO,

Vicki

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Summer Feels Like

 Hi Friends!
It's the first full week of summer vacation around here and the kids are pretty much jumping for joy!


Hope you're having a fun day, too!

XO,

Vicki

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I Coach

Hi Friends--

This morning I led dryland for one swimmer. 

One swimmer showed up at 5:15 to lift weights, run, and work her core. 

I'm sure the others in the group had good reasons for missing.  For some, it's day 2 of summer vacation and sleeping in feels like a gift from heaven.  For others, it's the second-to-last day of the school;  there's last minute stuff to do and no time to spare.  McKayla (fourth from left) falls into the second category--she's still got two more half days of sophomore year to go.  But there she was this morning--ready to workout.  She did the sprint runs alone.  She worked her shoulders and chest and biceps and triceps and obliques and hamstrings and quads, all by herself.  She didn't complain.  She worked up a sweat.  She asked for more shoulder work.  And at the end, she said she enjoyed it.

If someone would have told me two years ago that McKayla would be standing alone doing shoulder presses with me at 5:15 am on a school day, I would have laughed loud and hard.  McKayla is famous for her efforts to get out of workouts.  Last summer, she would beg for time to "sit around in a circle and talk about feelings."  But that was last summer.  This summer, she was the one to set up off-season dryland.  She's the first one to show up at 5:15.  She sends out reminder messages to the team the night before.  This is a new McKayla: a McKayla who wants to have a break-out junior year.  This is a completely motivated McKayla.

The best part of coaching:  watching my swimmers grow over the years--watching them set new goals and work toward accomplishing them. 

I have always believed in McKayla.  I love that McKayla is believing in herself.

You are a rock star, McKayla!  Great job this morning.

XO,

Coach Vicki

PS  I hope you can lift your arms tomorrow.  : )

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wacky Games

Hi Friends!

It's official:  School's out for summer!  Yahoo!  I spent today over at Jack's school taking hundreds of pictures of the kids playing Wacky Games.  It was a gorgeous, perfect day, and just warm enough to make the water games feel good.

 Wacky Games is a Clayton tradition on the last day of school.  The kids look forward to it all year.


 None of the games are especially challenging, and there are no winners and losers.  The kids think that's totally fine.
 This little guy is the son of one of my friends.  I have a huge crush on him.  He's adorable!

 For as long as I remember, Bridget and Kristina have been in charge of organizing Wacky Games.  They do an AWESOME job!
The kids like having the teachers and staff out there, too.  The picture below is Jack's PE teacher, Mr. Rebas and his classroom teacher, Mr. Lardinois.
And here's Jack with Mrs. Benson, the principal.  She is a dynamic and positive leader:
Hooray for a fun-filled last day of school.  I can't believe my last kiddo is leaving Clayton Elementary.  I am totally going to miss being there all the time.  Clayton was exactly the kind of place I'd always hoped my kids would go to elementary school. 

And now:  on to Summer 2012!

XO,

Vicki