Thursday, May 19, 2016

Random photos

 Kira at her showcase.  She was scared to go to practice once Heidi went back to work.  Now she goes in with no tears and that's nice.

Scott likes holding the kitty.  He asks me each night, "Can you put the kitten down once I've fallen asleep?"

Mister's doing pretty good.

Crazy hair day at school.

Scott takes a lot of pride in his hair.

Here is what Mister does when he's unsupervised.  I had had a long day at work and was burned out, so I just sat down on the couch.  I heard the cereal dump out but I thought it was someone else pouring themselves a bowl.  Uh, no.

Blake wanted to photobomb Parker but I took his own.  He likes doing mohawks.

This is an old picture but there aren't many of me with the kids, so this is cool.

Kira brought Clifford to gymnastics.

Blake is into having his picture taken.  Here he is, falling off the rings at Krey.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

St Patty's Day

We went on a last minute leprechaun hunt for St Patty's day with some friends.  It was a gorgeous day and the kids found some great candy that the sneaky leprechaun left behind at Round Valley. They loved playing in the river (even though it was running a little faster than ideal with all the little babies we had with us).  When we were there, 2 other friends randomly found us and a frog which was a fun surprise. The boys loved playing with him. We spent most of our time at the river and having a picnic. It was a lot of fun! 


The stars aligned and the kids had off on free day at the Exploratorium for Pi Day.  We headed out there last minute, got to the City in less than an hour and had a fun day!  We brought along 2 friends which was fun for Scott.  It was a gorgeous day in San Francisco and we had a great time with no major meltdowns.  The Exploratorium is such a cool museum.  They have so many hands on projects. Next time we will head to the other side of the museum which we didn't even get to this time.

Smith Family Farm

Kira has a field trip to the Smith Family Farm a week ago that Danny was planning on going to but it got cancelled at the last minute, so I got to go this week!  It was so much fun for me to spend the morning with her.  The kids get to go on a tractor ride, feed the chickens, learn about pests and helpers, help plant a garden, have a ho down and pet the animals.  It was nice to have some special time with her.  I am so proud of her. She has matured so much.  She has gone in and out of moments that she didn't like male subs, subs or just leaving me when I went back to work but we have worked through them.  She is always so eager to learn and loves to learn which is such a great quality. She is in most of the pics with Peter (her proclaimed best friend in Kindergarten)...She just adores him.  He has 3 brothers and Kira just thinks he is the most fun, sweetest, kindest boy.  Kira has made some good friends in her class and had a GREAT kindergarten year.  She had a great time digging for worms and singing on your tractor ride.   The best part of her day was having quality time just with mom.

Gymnastics Showcase

Kira has begged to do gymnastics for a couple of months.  It was too hard with my dad being so sick so we started her in January in a rec class. She loved it so she tried out for a pre competition team in February.  They do little 'showcases' which are like mock meets with their friends.  It was so cute!  They walk out, practice soluting the judges and do a little routine.  Gymnastics is definitely her thing...or at least until I started working.  The past four weeks has been rough!   Kira has really been affected the most with me going to work and has the hardest time with me not being able to take her to gymnastics.  Danny has off Tuesdays and we have a babysitter take her on Friday but it isn't the same for her.  She has gotten a little better each week so we had no idea how the showcase would go.  She has been kind of hit or miss with how much she has done the past couple of weeks at gym while they were learning the routines so I had no idea if she would even do it or know the routines.  She was excited that I brought her, when we got there nervous and didn't want to do it.  I left and she came marching out with a smile on her face.  I could tell she was nervous and excited at the same time.  After the first event her nervous smile turned into a smile, she loved giving her friends high 5's and had a great time!  On the way home she said she couldn't wait for the next showcase.  I think it was fun for her to see what a meet it like.  It was so great for her to go out and do something out of her comfort zone.  Last year she tried swimming but didn't want to swim with the team or at meets and I didn't force it so this is the first 'show' that she has really done.

She is a natural athlete.  She was born that way and it is so fun to see her try hard, have fun and do something she enjoys.  It was so cute to watch all the little girls.  She did a cartwheel which has gotten so much better than last time I saw her. She did a carwheel leading with the opposite leg and would try to throw the wrong leg over. Back kick-overs were pretty amusing.  The kids would try and try and try but be too scared until their coach came out.  She did her vault and jumped onto the springboard instead of onto the mat and then just stepped up to the mat once she realized she wasn't where she needed to be for hand stand.  Her favorite is the bars.  She is so strong and has gotten so much better at learning her skills and realizing she can do it.  She can do front and back circles galore.  She only forgot one routine which was her floor routine.  It looked like she was going to cry, but instead saluted the judges, sat down and a smile came back on her face within a couple of seconds.  I was so happy that she worked it out.  She is maturing little by little and it was great to see a great, big smile at the end of the meet and her feeling so great about herself!  She is so proud of her ribbons and has them in her room where she can see them and sort them everyday.  She actually won two events which is more by chance than anything but she felt proud.  So proud of you Kira!

Her coach Cassie who has been very sweet and patient with her the past couple of weeks!

Here she is with the other Rubies which are girls about 5-7.  She practices with 3 other girls who are all so sweet!

Danny and I watching the showcase. 

Her loot


When we moved out to Brentwood to be closer to Danny's work 5 years ago, I finished up my season with Aquabears and Valley Vista and decided to be a mom.  My heart wanted to be home with my kids at night, go to their sports and eat dinner at a normal time.  It was a really hard decision because I loved the families, coaches and team I was with.  It was the perfect part time job but I just wanted to be home and it turned out to be the best decision for my family.  I had no idea at the time that I would soon become a caretaker for both my parents.  How grateful I am that I was able to spend so much quality time with my parents the last couple of years of their lives.  I know that many people don't have that choice but my sister and I were blessed to have that time.

Heather and I were always so grateful that our husbands worked so hard so that we could be with our parents and help take care of them.  That is a gift that Danny gave to me!

Of course I couldn't stay totally out of swimming so I worked with one age group at a time in Oakley where Scott swam.  I loved it!  It was just 30 or 60 minutes, but it was doing something I loved!  It had built in childcare at the gym which made it so convenient.  Coaching fulfills me and I am so grateful for my time with Aquaknights.  They became like family and I grew to love the kids and parents.  It was different than teams in the east bay and took some adjustment at first but soon became a great home for us.

A couple of months after my dad passed away and life became a little more routine, I started to think about finding a team that would be a better fit for Scott.  When Scott swam in meets he wouldn't even try half the time.  I don't think it was on purpose, it was just that he didn't have a reason to race.  He loves swimming and loves friends and I just felt like he was getting at an age that maybe I should give him a team where he could really thrive.

So I reached out to the closest competitive team over the hills to see who was coaching since I knew the previous coach might not come back.  It was a great community and I felt would be a great fit for our family.  I sent out an email to the board to see who they hired someone and see if I could help in any capacity.

Long story short, I interviewed for an assistant job and ended up getting the head coaching job because it didn't work out with the head coach they were going to hire.

The entire time, it just felt right.  I had interviewed about a month or two earlier with a local team and got the job but it never felt right so I didn't take it.  People thought I should just take the local job and all the things I didn't feel right about would just work themselves out, but I never felt right about it so didn't take it.  I always felt to be patient and something would work out.  I am not a patient person, but I was so patient with our summer plans.  I didn't feel any pressure to coach, so it wasn't that big of a deal but when this all worked out, it affirmed to me the importance of listening to those small guiding feelings we have.

I love those teaching moments.  I feel like the more we heed the Spirit, the more willing we are to be patient in the future.

So I took the job and felt soo great about it!  From the first phone interview to my interview with the board and talking to coaches and parents about the team, I just got excited.  I knew it was where I was supposed to be either in a coaching capacity or just as a swim mom.

We just finished week 4 and I am having so much fun!  It is a great team, great group of kids, great parents, great board.  I really feel so blessed.

Coaching has given me great balance in my life.  I feel like I am a better mom during the day, managing my time more wisely (because I have to) and really making the most of my time with my kids.  I still have a LONG way to go, but I am learning and growing and becoming a more balanced person, better mom and hopefully eventually better wife (still working on that).

Scott had a rough first week having to stay at the pool with me for most of his evening, not knowing many kids and being cold in the water.  He worked hard, but there were a couple of days he was in tears of not having anyone he felt to hang out with.  By week 2 or 3, he was looking forward to going to hang out with his friends.  Everyone has been so kind to him.  I will never forget one day he was in tears when we arrived, I went to talk to two boys playing basketball to see if Scott could join them and they were soo nice.  One kid said he joined the team from another team two years ago and knew how Scott felt.  He went above and beyond to make Scott feel better.  Well, now Scott is disappointed if he can't go because of other commitments.  He is working so much harder than he has ever worked and really loves it.  He has made some great friends and has a lot of fun!  What a great thing to see because ultimately, that was my main motivation of finding a new team.

Coaching has been so fun for me.  I really do LOVE it!  I feel like it was a gift that I have been given that really gives me so much joy!  I love seeing a new 4 year old get across the pool or an 18 year old doing something that is preparing them for adulthood.  Rec is really fun to coach because everyone is sprinting.  So much easier in some ways than USS that you have your many different groups and training focuses.

The family is adjusting.  I really need to learn to be more disciplined at home.  I need to prepare my week ahead of time with meal prep, laundry, babysitters, etc.  I am not a planner, so this is good for me!  It will be a great life lesson for me.  Kira is having the hardest time.  She really misses me.  She loves gymnastics but that has been really hard for her to do without me.  She melted down a couple of times at school missing and wanting me, so I have tried to be very careful to spend quality time with her as soon as she gets home from school at 12 until I go to work at 3.  We have done little dates and I have made sure to put her to bed at night.  All those things and time have helped.  Pushing back her bedtime so she can see me at night has been a great thing.

I need to be careful not to neglect Blake during the morning when I am trying to get things done so I am staying up later at night to try to organize my day.  Hence, writing this at midnight.  Scott is with me so that has been good quality time.  We ride in the car and talk, sing, listen to music.  What a wonderful treat to have that quality time with him. I need to carve out that time with Tyler.  He doesn't seem to need it as much, but deep down I know he does.  He is my tough, seemingly unemotional kid, but in many ways that is just a wall.  I am trying to be better at really focusing on the good instead of the difficult in him (which can be hard at times because he tests me the most), but he has a good heart and is a good kid, especially when I focus on that.  The baby is doing fine.  He is a pretty go with the flow, easy little man.  I am really enjoying him.  I hope he stays that way!  Poor

Danny is probably being neglected the most because I am focusing so much on compensating for giving to my kids that he gets put on the back burner.  We are doing better, learning to balance me working.  It is hard because Kira has always loved and still does love her dad, but dad can't replace mom.  I know that is hard for Danny.  I am so grateful that he is giving 150% after work to make it possible for me to work.  Originally, we planned on a babysitter staying later so that he could go to the gym and just have some down time, but the kids just really need us right now so we hopefully eventually will get there.  He doesn't complain, gets up early to do piano and breakfast, helps clean the home, doesn't complain about what doesn't get done and I am just very grateful for him.  I can work on more patience and need to work on carving out just as much time for him as I do for my kids.  So this week that becomes my focus.

I feel like going back to work is this giant learning curve of balance and I am sure when the summer is over I will feel like I am just starting to figure it out.  But it is good things, good life lessons of love, sacrifice and balance that will continue to bless my life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And the cat had babies!

 Mel had four kittens about two weeks ago.  I was suspicious that she was preggers because not only did she start getting fat, she spent a lot of time just laying around.  One night she started to bleed.  I said, "It's happening!"

Heidi was in denial.  Then Mel's water broke on Tyler's bed.  Heidi didn't want the kittens born on Tyler's bed so she moved the cat into the bathroom.  After about an hour of howling, Heidi let Mel out.  Mel birthed the kittens on Tyler's bed.  The kids were stoked.  They were up a few times throughout the night to check on the kittens.  I didn't want kittens, but you gotta admit, it's special for the kids to witness the whole circle of life like that.

Tyler's pretty proud that she chose his bed.

Scott's been into making cookies and his have been pretty tasty.  

Mister's growing right up.  He talks quite a bit even though it's unintelligible gibberish.  He's been walking for about three weeks now.

Kira has chosen this white one as her kitty.

Heidi's job has been going pretty well.  I was worried about the increased work load it would put on me to have her gone for meal times but I gotta say, it's actually been nice.  Tonight we had Thai chicken skewers on the barbie with rice and salad.  Heidi had marinated the chicken and prepared the salad, so I just barbecued it and made the ride in the cooker.  The kids have been doing their chores and then we play UNO to cap off the night.  Then Kira and Blake fall asleep and then I read Harry Potter to Tyler.  We're in book four now.

Okay, that's all for now.