Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Week In McK

In spite of being down one child this week, we were busy as ever. Add to that lightening that wiped out our wireless router and left us without internet for a few days and you have my excuses for lack of updates this week.

With Maggie gone for Monday's swim meet, Tim took over as the family star. He went out to the pool that morning and learned butterfly, returned that evening and (successfully) swam a 50 butterfly and a 100 IM. He was a rock star! E flamed out in the 25 backstroke but loved the meet anyway. He was disappointed he couldn't go off the blocks but took his DQ in stride.

We received the great news that Maggie was accepted into PLATO this week as well so she will be at Highland Park in the Fall with Morrigan and her bestest, Megan. As she was at camp she was literally the last to know but the delay didn't diminish her excitement.

Thursday we had the rare week day Supper Club, brought about by all our impossible Summer schedules. Luckily, the odd day only meant two people were not able to make it. The weather was not as cooperative as I would have liked so we were indoors rather than on the deck but it was a great night anyway.

Today we picked up Maggie who had an excellent time at camp. She seems to be training for some sort of para-military career, having chosen both riflery and archery as her activities. It does appear she accomplished her goal of not brushing her hair all week - aim high Mags. But other than a run in with a daddy long legs we have heard about, repeatedly, her camp week came off without a hitch.

We're only home for a few days before it is off on our Summer vacation. I may or may not update depending on our wireless situation but worse comes to worse, we'll just do the full debrief on our return.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Off to Camp!

Yesterday we drove Maggie to West Virginia for sleep away camp. She has been counting down the days for weeks. It is the same camp she attended last year so we were in familiar territory. On her part, there was not a hint of nervousness.

There was, however, a distinct lack of interest in the rest of the family. As soon as we had her delivered to her tent, she was ready to be done with us. I offered to stay and help her make her bed but she told me she had it covered and she would see me next week. Now I know I shouldn't be surprised that my children are uber independent, but there was a little twinge when I was deemed completely unnecessary. Just a little one though. I want her to have a home sickness free week, as I am sure she will.

Eion, who I am beginning to believe is becoming a player, busily charmed the counsellors with his plans to hide at camp so he could stay with Maggie. On our way back out, he joined in with the girls singing the welcome song to the next group of campers. The frequency with which I hear the comment, "He's just the cutest thing" is unnerving. 

After our short, sweet drop off, Morrigan, Eion and I drove back home. Their different reactions were interesting. Eion figured that with Maggie out of the picture, he should get to share a room with Morrigan. And her give up having her own room for a week? Fat chance.

But the prospect of her own room wasn't quite enough to cheer her up. Mini Camp is only offered for two years, after which you have the choice of 3 weeks or 6 weeks. Neither fit in our schedule this summer (or our budget for that matter) so she won't be going to Camp Alleghany this year. [She's going to a Girl Scout sleepaway camp instead.] And at some point over the winter, we realized that it was unlikely to ever be in our budget (by the time both girls went to 3 weeks of camp we would be looking at about $6,000) and we really had no interest in shipping off the girls for three weeks. But I am told that will change as they get older and I will be itching to get rid of them. So there is hope Morrigan!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Take the Plunge!

Team Fraught took us to the Elks pool this afternoon, to the delight of my children who were enthralled by the high dive. Morrigan opted out but Maggie and E were happy to leap off over and over. 

True to form, Eion immediately started chatting up the lifeguards. I can't be sure but his initial high dive may have been strictly for one cute lifeguard's benefit. 

Sadly, it was just a bit too early for what I find to be one of the highlights of the Elks, inexpensive beer pitchers.  Maybe next time.

I'm Just Not A Horse Person

I've come to the conclusion that you either are or are not a horse person. It is hard coded in your DNA. I just don't think you can be a person who isn't much for horses but then spends some time with them and thinks, "Yeah, this is for me." I am most definitely not a horse person. How am I so sure? Because I spent the entire time at the end of camp horse show thinking that this whole scene was too dusty, smelly, dirty, fly covered and did I mention smelly. And with advance apologies to all you horse types out there, I don't find them especially pretty animals.

On the plus side, Morrigan really came a long way this year, looked like she was having the time of her life and there were lots of kitties.

Morrigan was able to walk and trot on the rail unassisted. She received a blue ribbon and while there were some red ribbons so I know it wasn't an everyone-in-first-place scene, there was a girl who nearly bit it and also got a blue ribbon. But I really don't know what I am talking about anyway. I have no earthly idea for what the judge was looking.

What I do most definitely know is we are in a quandary here. Morrigan came running up as soon as we arrived, letting me know they had private lessons for (only) $35 a half hour. And could she please, please, please ride year round? I do want to be supportive of activities in which she wants to participate. But realistically, horses are an expensive gig. And more importantly, if she progresses, I have ZERO interest in driving all over hell's half acre going to horse shows I despise that are, have I mentioned, pretty pricey. Some horse people friends of mine have told me tales of $500 horse blankets and several times weekly jaunts to Lexington and let me tell you, it ain't happening around here.

So do we just shut it down right off the bat and turn down that sweet girl? Or do we let her go forward knowing full well that finances and lack of maternal interest will eventually cut her equestrian career short? I wish I knew what the right answer was. Maybe she can just go to another week of camp.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

They Are Just Too Cute

Morrigan loves spending time with baby Summer at the pool. There is really no story here except they are too cute together!

Just Keep Swimming

This week is shaping up to be (shoot, it's half way gone - it is) busy as ever. Morrigan is at horseback riding camp this week. Not being a horse person myself and completely unwilling to drive out to the boonies for year round riding, I make the concession once a year that she can go to Centura. We'll see on Friday, at the end of camp horse show, how she does this year. Last year's regression did nothing to reverse my anti-horse stance.

Monday night we swam against Stonegate. Eion, in spite of not being much of a swimmer, is currently leading the family, hell maybe the whole team, in enthusiasm. Practice he could live without, but he adores the meets. He can't dive but is determined to go off the blocks. His coaches endeavor to get him down but Mr. Tenacious just gets right back up there.

When the starter goes off, he leaps into the water with gusto. Efficient - not so much. Hilarious? Oh you bet.

He was disqualified immediately in breaststroke, which was no surprise. It was an all too common outcome in the 6 and under set. Our friend was not too far off when he referred to this event as "interpretive dance." His 25 freestyle was almost equally comical as he continually lost ground by paying more attention to his place in relation to the other swimmers rather than focusing on swimming. But the boy was happy.

Tim, the poor thing, was up for the 100 free and 50 breast. But in typical McK fashion, had time to pose before his race.

Wonder where E gets his style?

Maggie pie swam silver times for both the 50 free and 25 breast. And much to her delight, nailed her flip turn. While she may lack the flair of her father and brother, she was easily our top performer.

Ever the terrestrial being I am, I was content to document the proceedings. We all had fun, even Morrigan, who reveled in her recently acquired non-swimming status, but were ready to cash it in at the end of the night. In a completely unprecedented moment, the kids raced into the house, all calling out, "We can't wait to get to bed!" Thank goodness because neither could I.

No No, Let's Fit in One More Thing!

Summer is on and, as always, it seems we either have a full weekend of plans or Tim is working all weekend. Fortunately, we just had the former. Saturday, Tim was scheduled to play golf in the afternoon after which we were meeting up for cocktails. Six holes in and lightening closed the course but seeing as they weren't expected back for several hours, he and the boys determined the clubhouse was in order. When the "golfing" was through, it was back to back cocktail parties. 

Sunday we went to the lake for Eion's buddy's birthday party. Mother Nature smiled on us and we had picture perfect conditions for the whole party, which I think was a first as this annual event is generally plagued with dicey weather.

We've hit this wonderful sweet spot where the kids all can swim and take care of themselves. It really is much more relaxing than hovering over them every minute, fearing they are on the verge of drowning or dismemberment. I was able to engage in a whole lot more adult conversation. Other than Maggie's run in with a fish hook, a flesh wound really, though you would never guess it from the screaming, we passed the day without incident.

The kids (and adults) swam, fished and went out for boat rides. And of course, there was cake and ice cream!

When the party was over we hated to leave our hosts but we had just had one more stop - swim team pictures. The sunny weather turned to a downpour as we drove back to town but the storm broke long enough to get the shot. 

By the end of the weekend, we were ready for rest, but it was time for camps to start and swim meet Monday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Wanna Be a Cool Mom

 Amy called me last night and said we should do something fun for the last day of school. We should be "Cool Moms." Seeing as that is really not a description my children ever ever use for me, I was at a loss for what that thing might be. Fortunately, she was prepared with not only inspiration but a solid plan as well. We would sneak a pile of water balloons (which Amy thankfully bought and filled, I owe her one) and then have some popsicles.

There was ample surprise, especially from my crew seeing as we rarely dabble in the water balloon arts,  and the kids had a blast.

Might have helped that it was Africa hot and I don't think there was a single person, including the photographer, who minded getting wet.

I'm not sure if we attained cool status but they all had enough fun that they didn't even fuss about cleaning up.

And with that, we will call it officially Summer. 

Awards for Everyone!

My long standing aversion to faux awards ceremonies where everyone gets recognized, quite often for feats such as "Poem Recognition" and perfect attendance for 9 whole weeks, is well documented. I skipped several such gatherings just this week warning my children that I was completely unwilling to attend until a time when actual awards for actual achievements would be doled out. I was probably the only parent who skipped out but I figure they can tell their therapists all about it.

All that being said, when E was this excited about his swimming "Participant" ribbon, I was ready to make an exception in my steadfast dislike of the meaningless award.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Summer Plans

So Eion brings this picture home yesterday entitled, "My Summer Plans." On first inspection, it appeared his summer plans were either a) drowning or b) watching someone else drown. Neither option seemed very sunny.

I asked him about it and he said no, no one was drowning. He and Daddy were watching someone in quicksand. "Are you planning on saving them?" I asked. He looked at me, rolled his eyes and replied, "Of course!"

I hope summer lives up to his expectations.

First Swim Meet of Summer

School may have two more days but as far as we are concerned, Summer is here! Monday was the first swim meet of summer and by all accounts, it was a huge success.

First, let's go through who in the house is swimming this year. Morrigan called it quits and it has worked out for everyone. Maggie continued on and Eion is a new addition. Tim foolishly challenged a friend that if she swam, he would. Jennie took this quite seriously and spent the winter training. So Tim is swimming. I left last summer with all intentions of swimming but even after putting in the time at the pool, I am so very painfully slow that I just couldn't do it. That and I found I am too terrified to dive off the blocks. The prospect of diving off the side and then being the slowest person out there, including the 6 and unders, was more punishment than I could take.

But I did find a job at the swim meets many find unsavory that falls directly into my skill set - Clerk of Course. Basically you have to get everyone organized in heats and ready to go. Lots of talking very loud and ordering people around. Just right for me!

We weren't sure E was going to swim. He was excited about the suit - his "tiny suit" as he calls it - but he was intermittently bursting into tears of nervousness. Actually, I have to side track. Buying his suit was hilarious. The kid is really slight. His skinny style, slim fit jeans are baggy - he's not used to clothes being tight. So when he tried on the suit, he told me it didn't fit. Seeing it clearly did, I asked why he thought so. "It's touching me all over!" he cried. But back to the the end, he did swim his race, leaping off the blocks in grand style. They wanted the kids who couldn't dive to go off the side but he would have none of it.

He came in next to last but in E's world view, came in second. He was so excited about his race (and subsequent participation ribbon, his first) that I opted not to correct him. Much to the chagrin of his sister.

Maggie swam two very respectable races getting 4th silver in freestyle and 8th silver in backstroke. She was irritated she didn't get gold times but I reminded her she had just aged up. And more importantly, who really cares? 

I almost forgot about Tim! He was behind the blocks but managed to miss backstroke. Oops. But he got in there  for freestyle and earned 5 points for the team with his 1st place bronze time. Go Timmy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's Almost Summer

Can I just start out with the opinion that school should totally be done after Memorial Day? My children are not doing anything it seems, other than having Water Day, End o' the Year Parties and Camp Day. And after the SOLs are done, no one cares. But Roanoke City Schools has a long history of not listening to me so I don't expect much to change.

We had a jam-packed, wall to wall fun Memorial Day weekend which kicked off with a cocktail party (no kids.) Tim was beat from a night shift the night before and bailed early. I, as evidenced in the number of teeth visible in my smile, did not.

Sooo we were a little slow out of the gate Saturday. The kids we happy to relax and play. By the time we even thought of going to opening day at the pool, it was too late and would have interfered with poker. 

But the next day, we solemnly swore, we would go. We made it out for a short dip (swearing again that Monday we would really stay for a while) before my cousin Sheri and her family dropped by for a visit.

Her husband has family in Buchanan and, seeing as they were so close, made a detour to Roanoke on their way to a white water rafting trip.

After a brief but welcome visit, we were out to cookout/cocktail party number two (with kids.) 

There were kids a plenty and another day of fine weather. And cake for Brett's 40th! We were even able to trade a few kids with friends and have sleepovers, much to the children's delight.

Monday, as promised, we did spend the live long day at the pool.

This year is shaping up to be The Best Summer Ever as even Eion is water safe - all the way to the deep end.

Not to mention, E clandestinely brought me a beer from the beer dive (I didn't participate) that a friend had sent over. Good boy buddy.

Maybe I'm not too upset there is school this week as I most definitely needed the rest. But when we hit the last day next week, I will be ready!