Friday, August 30, 2013

Five for Friday!

Hellllooo, Friends!

It's Friday again!  Yahoo!  This week has completely kicked my bootie.  Swim team is in full-swing, and that means lots of practice, parties, and meets.  Yesterday we had an away meet and didn't get back until 11:30. This morning was the Senior Wake Up, and Emily and I were on the road at 5:30 to wake up swimmers for a team breakfast.  Good times, for sure!!  I'm hoping to use this weekend to catch up on sleep and time with John and the kids.  Fingers crossed!  Here's 5 good links for you to check out:

1.  I love the idea of commissioning a painting--wouldn't that make the best gift?!?  I'm not sure how I'd ever pick a photo, though, I have so many to choose from!

2.  I have some of the very best girlfriends (including my sister, Christy)--ladies I know always have my back.  I am so blessed to have friends who love me when I am not perfect or especially lovable, and friends who make me laugh loud and hard.  I love this post from The House of Hendrix, entitled, "35 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Girlfriends."  I especially love #'s 1, 4, 20, 27, 30, 31, 34, & 35.  

3.  Do you read Momastery blog?  It's good, friends.  Glenndon's writing style is so funny and real.  I love it. Plus, she's not afraid to tell it like it is.  She recently did a 40 day internet "fast" -- no blogging, Facebook, Twitter--nothing for 40 days.  I anxiously awaited her return so I could read all about what she learned.  Her first post back did not disappoint.  It's pure Glenndon.  Loved it. 

4.  Spinach + Artichoke + Bacon Stuffed Pretzels?  Um...yes.  Yes I will be making this recipe!

5.  I know we're closing in on the end of summer, but I think there's still time to try one of these "Official Drinks of Summer".  Yum!

Have a wonderful long weekend!  Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I Read {Summer 2013}

Hi Friends,

I thought it was high-time that I caught you up on what I've been reading.  Here's what I read this summer:

Calling Me Home, Julie Kibler (4 stars). I loved this story of "forbidden love", and the lengths people go to so they can be with the one they love.  This is a story from another era, but it's lessons are timeless.  Loved it.

 Instant Love, Jami Attenberg (4 stars). Another collection of short stories that makes me rethink my opinion that I don't really care for collections of short stories.  : )  This is a good collection, friends.  The writing is sharp.  The relationships ring true. It's good stuff.
Love Me, Garrison Keillor (4 stars).  I'm still thinking about this one.  I'm not really thinking about Larry, (the main character who it's hard not to like even though he is incredibly self-absorbed), but of his wife, Iris, who is strong in ways that I can't even imagine.  She's spunky and real.  Larry was lucky.
The Melting Season, Jami Attenberg (2 1/2 stars).  This is probably my least favorite of Ms. Attenberg's books (yes, I became a little bit obsessed with her this summer), but it's still worth the read.  I didn't have much in common with Catherine, and her husband, Thomas, who was all kinds of odd, but the story works on many levels.
 A Fierce Radiance, Lauren Belfer (3 stars).  This book is part mystery and part love story, set during WWII.  It's the story of photojournalist Claire Shipley, who captures the beginnings of the discovery of penicillin through her photographs.  I learned all kinds of things about the politics behind this big discovery.  In between all of this, Claire falls in love, and helps solve a murder.  Intrigued?  Give it a try!
 Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell (4 stars).  Ahhh!!  This is teen fiction at its absolute finest.  A love story between two misfits.  Every page, every situation rings true.  Loved it.
 Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight (4 stars).  Yikes!  This book scared the you-know-what out of me!  A mother goes back to find out what really happened the day her daughter died.  What she uncovers is pretty much every mother's worst nightmare.
Zelda, Therese Anne Fowler (3 stars).  Okay, I think I need to stop reading books about the wives of famous authors.  This one made me seriously rethink my opinion of F.Scott Fitzgerald.  In fact, by the end, I was completely creeped out by him.  It was clear that the author was completely "Team Zelda," and not a big F. Scott fan.
 This Bright River, Patrick Somerville (3 1/2 stars).  This one is good.  It's a redemption story, and a love story, and a bit of a mystery.  I loved the combination.  I ended up caring about the characters, which is always a good thing.
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 stars).  Oh, boy!  I love a book that spans decades and continents and is jam-packed with vibrant, flawed characters.  This book has all of that and more.  A deeply satisfying read.
Kingdom of Strangers, Zoe Ferraris (3 stars).  This book took me to a place I knew pretty much nothing about--deep into Saudi Arabia.  I loved this peek into a culture that is so very different than my own. Add in a hunt for a serial killer and an intriguing (and brave!) female protagonist, and what I found was an excellent, intriguing novel.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, Anton Disclafani (4 stars).  Another brilliant coming-of-age novel set in the early years of the Great Depression.  The main character, Thea, is sent away to a riding camp after she makes a shameful decision.  Anton Disclafani definitely made me feel like I was traveling back to the early 1930's.  Brilliant writing!

Happy Reading!



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Project Life {August 19-25}

 Hi Friends!

Woo-Hoo!  It has been a good, long while since I posted a Project Life layout!  It's not because I don't love this project (I do!), it just that this summer has been a bit...packed.  The good news is that I've taken tons of pictures this weekend and as of next week, I'll have my days free again.  There's plenty of time to play catch up!

Since I was behind, I decided to just start with last week and work my way backwards.  Last week was filled with swim team (like every week until November will be!).  We held our team triathlon, and Emily finished in under an hour!  We also had our first meet and smashed the competition.  On Sunday, there was a team party at Stevie B's and Cherry Berry.  It was a full swim team week, for sure!
In between the swim team stuff, we managed to sneak off to Point Beach again, this time with Jack.  We also finally (!!!!) harvested our first tomatoes.  Our garden is lovely, but we haven't had a whole lot of warm weather, so everything is taking forever to ripen.  The other big event of the week was Emily's trip to the ER during practice on Saturday.  Emily has been suffering from migraines and dizziness for a while now.  We have been to 3 doctors and a neurologist trying to figure everything out.  On Saturday, she almost passed out on deck, and her dizziness wouldn't go away, so we took her into the ER.  The good news is that her CT scan came back clean, the bad news is that they do not know what is causing her problems.  They are sending us to a cardiologist next.  Please keep Emily in your prayers.

Thanks for taking a peek at my Project Life!



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

Monday, August 26, 2013

On My Wall

Hey Friends!

Check out my new craft room wall collage!  It makes me crazy-happy.  It's filled with all kinds of bits and pieces that make me smile:  an old cartoon of John and I, a couple of favorite photographs and cards I've collected over the years, an old license plate from the first time we lived in Wisconsin, a few fun posters, and some PL cards that I just love.  Nothing really matches, but the overall effect works for me.  I love it.

Hooray for having lots of space to display little bits of fun!



Sunday, August 25, 2013

In the Blink of an Eye

 Hi Friends,

The girls, Jack, and I managed to sneak back to the lake this week (I'm kind of obsessed, can you tell? I'm desperate to jam in as many trips as I can before summer's end).  The weather was warm, but the water was so, so cold.  We decided to brave it anyway.  Here's Jack pretending that the water was warm and lovely:
 He's a good actor, huh?  At one point, I looked over and all three kids were building a sand castle together:
It literally made my heart squeeze.  It's a scene I have watched many times over the years, and I got a little bit sad wondering how many more times I might get to see them play in the sand together.  I am baffled about where the time has gone.  I want to just squeeze them together and hold the little bit that's left of their childhood in the palm of my hand.  I keep telling them that I'm not ready for them to be grown up, but they just keep getting older.
This time next year, I will be a weepy mess.  Emily will be heading off to college.  Maddie will be heading into her junior year.  Jack will be going into 8th grade. How is that possible?!?  I just know that next year will be here in the blink of an eye.  But until then, I am going to remind myself to enjoy every single moment with my three kiddos.



Monday, August 19, 2013

A Day at the Beach

Sometimes you just need to pack up the car and head to the beach, which is exactly what the girls and I did yesterday.
 The day was stunningly, gorgeously perfect.
 The company was even better.
 I loved every single moment of yesterday with my girlie-girls.
Two thumbs up for beach days.



Friday, August 16, 2013

Wonder Women Party

Hi Friends!

The first week of the crazy-busy high school swim season is in the books.  Well, almost...we have a team car wash tomorrow.  Then the first week will be over.  : )  I always host the first party of the season to get things kicked off.  We started on Tuesday, the party was on Wednesday. I went with a "We are all Wonder Women" theme inspired by this poster, and I found the cute printable above from Little Blue Boo. Pretty much the entire team stopped by.   It was awesome!  And you know what else was awesome?  These two women who wore Wonder Women costumes:

We lucked out with gorgeous weather this year (yahoo!), so most of the girls enjoyed just hanging out in the backyard.
There was lots of bouncing on the trampoline and a whole bunch of night games.

We ate Greek yogurt with fruit toppings (healthy), and a whole bunch of candy (not so healthy). 

And in between all the fun, we even managed to get all of the Car Wash posters made:

I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all.  I love coaching all of these "Wonder Women!"



PS  Most of this post, in a slightly different format appeared first on our team blog.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dear 2013 Big Pigeons

Dear Pigeons,

Yesterday was our last day together, and today I am in full-on, "I can't believe it's over mode."  Summer 2013's Pigeons will go down as one of my favorite groups, ever.  I loved the mix of old returners and new Neenah girls and guys.  Each year I worry about adding new people to the group (I tend to get attached to my teams, as you've probably noticed), but all of this year's new additions were completely fabulous. Tomorrow the girls high school season starts.  I'm sure it will be fantastic, but before my focus shifts, I wanted to reflect one more time on the past 8 1/2 weeks.  

 I want you to know that I loved our summer together.  I love that we did new things together like DQ runs and our SuperHero movie marathon.  But I'm equally as glad that we carried on the team traditions, like Wheel of Wow, Manderfield's, Bring a Parent to Practice, the Obstacle Course, and the Open Water Challenge.
I love that we tried some new training techniques.  You guys were rock stars at the spin classes.  Those 3 hours of spin were pretty darn intense.  Colleen is still talking about how great you guys did.  You also showed Jan just how bendy you all are.
 Each of you got to train with tempo trainers this summer.  Some of you were fans, others not so much.
You all improved in so many ways.  You all got stronger.  Remember when 3 minute weight sets seemed impossible?

I know everyone came into this summer with different agendas and goals.  I hope you feel like you accomplished some of your goals along the way.
 More importantly, I hope you felt like you were part of something special.  Because trust me:  this group is filled with special people.  I hope you continue to support each other as you move away from summer swim.
 I have big hopes for you as you enter high school and college swim seasons.  But most of all, I hope you enjoy your swim season.  Because, really?  Swim team is way too hard if you can't find some fun along the way.
 Remember your little successes from this summer and strive for bigger ones this fall.
 Remember to look to each other if you need a friend.

Be good teammates.  Be good people. Give a little more than you take during the season.  Remember, you never know when you might be inspiring someone.

 Push yourself a little harder than you want to.  Take on a challenge.  I am confident that if you do, you will amaze yourself.  You're just those kinds of people.
Remember that the days are long, but the season is short.  Don't waste time.  Enjoy the moment.
 Also remember that you each have a very special place in my heart, and you always will.  You guys are why I coach.
 For those of you who do not swim for NHS, keep in touch.  Let us know how things are going for you, and know that even though you are not swimming for NHS, we still love and support you.
 Go out there and be fabulous.
Thanks for the memories.


Coach Vicki