Sunday, July 28, 2013

Now We're Done

Swim season, she is finished! With the conclusion of City County, we are officially without commitments for the duration of the summer.

Tim joined us on Saturday and to my surprise, it was his first time there in our five year swimming span. It seems the perfect storm of work and me needing him to watch Eion in years past has kept him from the joy all these years. No more!

The Happy Swimmers

On deck for Saturday was 25 butterfly, 25 breast and 50 free for Eion while Maggie only had the 50 breast and 100 free. 

Maggie swam well and scored points for both races in the silver division. Eion, well, he certainly had personality. While he is never able to sit still behind the blocks, having Tim as part of his cheering squad seemed to bring out the entertainer in him. Before all of his races he would dance, kick, wave and flash us all sorts of gang signs. I cannot tell you how much I wish I had it on tape. Seeing as I never record the races, if you are honest, you know they aren't interesting enough live to want to relive them later, I didn't have the right camera with me. But he was having a ball. 

After the race was done, he would come over, all smiles, and tell us how people he didn't even know were cheering for him. After the last event, he told us, "This is awesome! I can't wait for next year!"

Yeah, you are busted for eating chocolate for breakfast!

We didn't tell him he dq-ed in two races. He never needs to know.

What was really the best was all the kids interacting with each other. When Eion stayed after he was done to yell out, loudly, for Ned. When Margaret, much to her parents' dismay, kept them there an extra hour to watch Maggie's last race so she could cheer her on and bring Mags her towel. It was really sweet and made all that early morning, loud pool deck hanging totally worth it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day One of City County is in the Books

Dude, I am so tired. We were up at 6am to go to the big summer swim meet, City County. It was, as ever, controlled chaos, with kids and overwrought parents everywhere. Having been to this rodeo for a number of years, I am happy to no longer really give a shit beyond my children being happy.

The Margarets

The bad news: there were all sorts of touch pad issues making the whole circus start 45 minutes late. Ugh. Whereas last year I was home well before noon, this year we didn't finish the morning session until 1:30. 

The good news: Not many scores were posted by the time we left but both Maggie and E had won "big ribbons" meaning they placed in the top ten of their time standard. Eion was (somewhat unbelievably) 6th place bronze in the 25 back and Maggie was 10th silver in the 50 back. So even if the rest of the weekend goes to hell, they have one bright spot. And seeing as the only other result we had before we left was E's 25 free, a much less impressive 32nd bronze, these placements may be the highlight of the meet. 

Tomorrow we will find out how Maggie did in the 50 free and 100IM. There was no way I was waiting around for those scores. Also awaiting us are the 25 butterfly, 25 breast, and 50 free for E and the 50 breast and 100 free for Maggie. And hopefully fewer delays.

One of the other Moms had threatened to come packing a bloody mary today. While not a bloody fan, I had planned to have a traveller myself in solidarity. Well, neither of us followed through but let me tell you how we could have used those cocktails during hour four of that meet. 

Wish me luck in the A.M.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nerd, I Mean, Medical Research Camp

For many years, camps have been a struggle. The wee ones were not that into sports or art and we had a tough time finding the right fit. All that has gone by the wayside as we have aged up to nerd camps. Maggie went to App Attack, which was a big hit, and Morrigan is attending this week a Medical Research Camp through the Virginia Tech medical school and the science museum.

As I dropped her off on Monday, I thought "This could be disaster." It was, after all, an all day (9-4) camp and the topics seemed rather educational, that is to say, boring. My concern was misplaced. When I picked her up, she was all smiles and full of stories about her day which included dissecting a cow eyeball (eeww,) seeing the MRI machine and the lab mice. In truth, it is a lot like school, but she loves it.

Yesterday, they also used a virtual dissection machine and dissected a starfish. There was some sort of test as well but Morrigan said not to worry, she aced it.

The local paper had an article today about the camp and quoted Morrigan as well! My favorite line of hers, "I guess I'd prefer to be a doctor that doesn't cut people up. That would be weird." 

She was raring to go again this morning, thrilled to have more science lectures and, I think, take apart a frog. Like I said, nerd camp.

You can read the article here. And full credit to The Roanoke Times for these pictures I ripped off their site.

And a not very interesting video here: 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


The girls came home from camp yesterday. After we talked all about how awesome it was and how they couldn't wait to go back next year, I told them about my good news from the spine surgeon. I mentioned it to them separately but the reaction was just the same. They both had such a look of happy relief in their eyes and immediately came over to give me a big hug. When you're all wrapped up in your pain, it's so easy not to see the impact it has on everyone around you. I can't wait to get this negative force out of all our lives.

Rendezvous With the Yankers

Friday was the big day - the 9 tooth removal. Eion had the option of going back alone or having a parent with him. Seeing as the whole IV thing makes me a little queasy, I asked him, "Do you want to go alone or have Dad with you?" To which he naturally responded, "Mom!"

Mmm laughing gas!

Determined to be tougher than my fears, I did accompany him figuring it had to be worse for him than it would be for me. There was some yelling but the IV was successfully inserted with one try. Once he was all loopy, we waited in the outer room, where we heard many cries of "Ouch!" as the other patients looked at each other with dismay. We were told this was totally normal. Ok.

E in recovery.

When we walked into the recovery room, E asked me, "Mom, why do you have two heads?" Clearly, we were going to need to stay at the office for a bit. But eventually, he could see clearly enough to be carried out by Dad.

We stopped at 7-11 and bought him a giant coke slurpee and headed home. But after a little rest, he was raring to go around 2pm and wanted a playdate. We were pretty happy he bounced back so quickly. Now let's hope some replacement teeth come in soon to diminish his toothless hillbilly look.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On a Positive Note

I'm taking a break from cleaning the girls' rooms. As they are at camp, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to clean out every nook and cranny of their rooms. And let me tell you, holy hoarders! Morrigan's room was first on the hit list as I expected it to be worse. It generally looks a fright and didn't disappoint. After a long few hours though, it was done.

On to Maggie's, which theoretically should have been easier since it looks cleaner. HA! Hers was just as bad, maybe worse if you include the chewed gum on the hardwood floors behind the bed. Not just one piece where you might think you made a mistake, but multiple pieces. Maggie also seems to have something against trash cans and prefers to use other containers to store her granola bar and skittles wrappers.

Now I just have to decide how long they are home from camp before we go Zero Tolerance Summer 2013.

So while I'm on this break, let me tell you about my trip to the orthopedic surgeon. I made the appointment a few months back as kind of a last ditch effort. Amy refused to give up on me and was pressing for me to engage in another round of physical therapy. At this point, I was reaching the point where I would try just about anything but I thought I would see what the ortho said before embarking on a new PT journey.

My expectations were rock bottom. Mostly, I expected that he would confirm the previous diagnosis of arthritis or SI joint issues and send me on my pain-filled way.

But it was a miracle y'all. One look at my MRI from last September, that of the near panic attack, and he immediately identified the problem. There is a tear in my disc between L5 and S1 (I don't really follow either) and it can be fixed by PT, time and if all else fails, surgery.

My mood and outlook have not been this good for a period that can be measured in years.

It is a little bittersweet because I am going to the PT, a friend, to whom I did not go the first time around as he was out of network and more expensive. Had I gone to him initially, I could have probably saved myself a great deal of pain. But BFD - I'm going to get better now!

Unless you've experienced it, it is really tough to understand the emotional toll that constant pain can put on you. This all started as what I believed to be an injury. Each new path of treatment, be it rest, PT, or yoga, looked like another step towards feeling like myself again.

But then it was a year later. My activity level was almost as low as one can go. All my hobbies were gone and I was in constant pain. Some days better than others but it was always there. I found my jaw was starting to hurt from being clenched all the time in response to the pain. My sleep was interrupted at best and I was not a fun person to be around. The pain and sleep deprivation made me a bitch and one prone to bursting into tears at that.

And all I could think about was how I am only 41. I didn't think I could stand to live in this kind of pain for decades. It was a scary feeling.

But hey, it's a new day and I feel like I have a new lease on life. Two people I know, including the orthopedic surgeon, have both had this and they do cross fit and run. Running! I never thought I'd be able to again.

So here's to new diagnoses, sunshine and better days ahead!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Only Child

Eion is reveling in his status this week as only child. He was a little nervous about being alone this morning while we went to (an absolutely necessary) yoga class, but overall, he he thriving.

It was of course, swim meet Monday! The last of the summer for those tired of our aquatic excursions. First up was 25 butterfly.

In this particular event, Eion defies the laws of physics. There should be no earthly way he can swim legally going as slow as he does. But he was legal and DFL. But, he let me know, he cut time. Sadly, there are no awards for the swimmers who seem to employ magical properties.

He fared better with backstroke.

It was a strong 3rd bronze finish, tying his best finish ever! Much excitement 'round the McK household!

E has also been expressing an interest in golf lately. So we took him out to the range to hit some balls.

Really, he did quite well for someone who has never had any lessons. AND he wants to go back. I think there is nothing in the world Tim would love more than a son (or daughter) who wanted to golf with him.

He does have a very John Daly sort of swing.

Now all he needs is a diet coke, a cigarette and 3 divorces.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two Happy Girls Go to Camp

Morrigan and Maggie were so excited this morning to leave for camp that they were making me nuts - pacing around, asking me what time it was, sitting in the family room on their trunks. Finally, the hour arrived and we were able to leave. Though there are girls from as far as Texas, we only have to drive 15 minutes up the road.

It has been raining lots and lots and lots here but luckily, the sleeping and dining quarters are inside. Outside, wellll, it is pretty darn muddy. I'm thinking both girls are going to need new tennis shoes by the end of the week.

The counsellors are as enthusiastic as ever and continue to improve the decorations and amenities each year.

The "Houses"

Dining hall, divided by house

The library and game area

They kept their camp monikers from the prior year, Midnight and Mini-Midnight. It's always a nice touch when they name themselves after the cat I accidentally ran over. Thanks for keeping that memory alive girls! And being ever cheap, they opted for the free "rental" robes over the ones available for purchase. Gotta love some thrift!

By the time they were checked in, both girls were ready to be left for their week long adventure and Eion was stoked to be an only child. Let's hope there is sunshine for all of us on the horizon!

He Likes to Ride His Bicycle

So one morning at the beach, I wake up pretty early and go into our bathroom. There on the counter was a new pair of goggles, in their package and with a receipt from Walgreens. I'm thinking to myself, I know I had a couple of glasses of wine but there is no way a trip to the drugstore happened without me noticing.

Then back in the bedroom, I find ear drops and this:

Note time stamp of 4:38am.

Clearly, Tim had gone to the drugstore in the middle of the night. BUT our car was blocked in. Did he wake up his Dad or brother? My investigation led me outside where I saw that his bike had moved from the night before. 

Someone had an earache painful enough that Tim went riding off at 4am for a 10ish mile bike ride and I slept through the whole thing. The question now was am I a bad Mom for not waking when a kid came in with ear pain or just a bad wife for slumbering through Tim's adventures?

Turns out I was just a bad wife.

Back From The Beach

We are smack dab in the middle of what the girls describe as two of their favorite weeks of the year: beach week and Harry Potter camp. We returned from the beach yesterday and furiously laundered their gear in preparation for embarking on a week of wizardry. Now that they are successfully at Trefoil Academy, I can catch up here!

The beach was lovely, as always. It was a bit bittersweet as it seems this may be the last year we can all swing it together. My niece will be headed to college next year and it doesn't look promising for the whole family to find a week together. But this year was great. We stayed here:

I tend to drive the rental selection and am notoriously picky - only on the beach and I want a private pool. The good news is everyone bends to my will!

And we certainly got in some pool time.

But also in the good news department, the pool was not as critical as in years past since all the kids loved the ocean, even Eion.

Eion spent at least an hour one afternoon crashing into the waves, insisting that I get photos of the moment of impact. Always the shutterbug and armed with my waterproof camera, I was happy to oblige.

The love of the ocean also interfered with my planned nightly photo sessions. After dinner, there was always a crew back in the water. But I did execute my photographic tyranny one night.

I just couldn't bring myself to stop walks, beach games and swimming for pictures. So much fun and passing by way too fast.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

The weather here has been nothing but wet for a good week now. Actually, summer has been moist overall but recently Mother Nature really kicked it into overdrive. After days of movies and (gack) the Skate Center, we were getting desperate, I was ready for some decent weather for the 4th. We woke to more rain but it cleared up in time for the neighborhood 4th of July parade.

As we were headed down, my Dad sent me a text, reminiscing about our first summer in Michigan. I was about Morrigan's age and was less than excited about accompanying my family to the local parade. But we had moved to suburban Detroit from farmland Indiana so there was the prospect that it was a Parade, with a capital P. But soon we realized it was a fire truck, two cars and kids on bikes.

Funny you should bring it up Dad, because we are going to the flatlands to be in the modern day incarnation of said parade.

And it was a fire truck, two cars and kids on bikes. But they loved it.

Morrigan picked up a friend to take to the pool and after packing up at home, we were off. Naturally, we arrived to this:

We huddled in the pavilion, determined to wait it out. Glad we did as what followed was a glorious five hours of sunshine.

The place was packed and everyone was glad for the reprieve from being indoors. Right about when it was time for dinner, storm cloud rolled in yet again and we all cleared out. It was a simple, but pretty close to perfect, day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

All Smiles

Another swim meet Monday is done! This was Maggie's last one for the summer as we are at the beach next week and she's at camp the following week. She happily placed 2nd silver in both the 50 breast and 100 free.

My favorite event!

I always look like this after a 100 free!

Eion placed 3rd bronze in the 25 breast, his best finish ever! He was thrilled.

And enjoyed cheering on his friends.

Morrigan never had a chance to read the many books she brought as she became a de facto babysitter for some younger siblings. But she was paid out in donuts and couldn't have been happier. It was my first night as the main computer/results compiler person. It went as well as could be expected. Only one minor issue and it was quickly resolved! Now time to start packing for the beach...