Ribbon Wrangling

This swim team season has been the best yet! Having both kids on the team, happy and working hard was amazing.

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And this guy.

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Youngest on the team by almost a full year and he crushed it! In his first meet, he got splashed big time during the back stroke warm up and got a serious case of butterflies. After a snack, observing other swimmers, pep talks from us, several other parents, his teammates and coaches, he reluctantly lined up to swim his heat. Swimming in the 6 and  Under category, he was 1 of 5 kids in the heat, two of which were 6 years old. When they handed him his 3rd place ribbon, his mind was blown. He did it! He walked around swinging the ribbon saying “oh this? It’s just my ribbon. It’s a 3rd place. No big”. It. Was. Amazing.

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He went on to swim the rest of the season in both individual and relay races and worked his little butt off to do it. He was crushed when he didn’t make the cut in the finals, but showed up in his uniform any way “just in case”. I love his hustle and can’t wait to see what he does when he’s the big kid in his group.

Big scoops, buddy. Biiiiigggg scoops!!

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Also, it appears that while he sometimes has some hesitations about swimming races, his confidence with the ladies has no issues…

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This girl. This girls pushes past the limitations that asthma puts on her and works hard to swim fast. If there were style points, she’d win every time. Her strokes are gorgeous. This season, she worked on trading some of her skill for speed and she crushed it. She made the cut for breaststroke in the finals and took home an 8th place medal. She was supremely disappointed. While I felt bad that she was mad, I was also a little excited to see her get some competitive fire. Once she figures it out, she’s going to be unstoppable!

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Now, what the heck do we do with all these ribbons?!

Two years ago I assembled B’s ribbons into a shadow box for her. It makes a great back drop on her shelves. We added in her medal this year too.

*one note – if you have multiple kids, save your sanity by marking the ribbons as they get them. The fights that broke out over sorting ribbons at the end of the season were legendary.

(as you can see, I got this gem on sale at Hobby Lobby)

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I use a cool iron and press them from the backside to get all the wrinkles out without damaging the print. In addition to pinning them in, I also put in a little hot glue to make sure they don’t swing around.

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Voila! Start to finish, this is a 15 minute project. And a great display piece for all that hard work.

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Beachy Memories

If your kids are like mine, they are always trying to keep every little rock, bucket of sand, broken shell and sea tumbled piece of trash that they find on the beach. Or in a creek. Or just walking down the road. Sure you can bring it home in the name of preserving your sanity, but then what do you do with it?!

I let everyone collect all the shells and sand that they want and then sometime things “blow” out of the car on the way home. What are you gonna do? With a paired down set of shells, rocks and sand, we create little jars. They are cheap at Michael’s and we try to get the same size each time – or at least the same style. Then we fill them, label them and put them on a shelf. Easy to dust and no beach memories on the floor!

And if glass scares you, grab a plastic jar instead and hot glue the lid on for a toddler / hands on friendly version.

Easy way to control the amount of crap that comes home and keep it in one place is to use a drink cup with lid. If you’re extra fancy, remember to pack some ziplock bags

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Our sand dollars were purple and hairy. We put them in a bleach bath over night and voila! White and smooth.

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Ta da! A sweet little mess free collection of our vacation!

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Also works with creek rocks:

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A Conversation with Auggie

Me: Auggs, could you please get your shoes on? (Auggie runs out of room).

Auggie: (returns)

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Me: Right. So about those shoes? And did you put jammies back on?!

Auggie: I’m Boots and Bonner!

Me: So I’m thinking we’re going to be late.

Auggie: Do you want a hat too??

Happy Birthday Baylor

I think it’s safe to say, 8 might be my favorite age.

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This year has marked some big confidence growth for Miss. B. I didn’t see it coming so when it plopped down in front me, I was left in awe. Watching her stroll into the first swim team practice of the season like a seasoned professional – no tears, no arguments – and literally dive in, was amazing.

She waltzed into a new camp with the same attitude. I was intimidated by the other kids, but not Baylor. She was by far the kid with the least dance experience and sadly her mother’s gymnastic skills, and not only did that not stop her, she wasn’t fazed in the slightest. She happily danced along the way she wanted to and at the end of the week announced “camp was fine. But I like the way I dance better”.

I hope for the rest of your life, you always like the way you dance better, B Baby.

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Little Loves

Not every day, but a lot of days, I put a note on a napkin in Baylor and Auggie’s lunches. Sometimes they’re funny, but mostly they’re just little love notes and wishes for a good day.

Yesterday, I got a note back. It was so simple, but it touched me so much that B would keep her napkin until she was back in her classroom and then remember to write a love note to me.

I need it on my desk forever – especially on the days I’m not feeling so awesome ❤

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Just Breathe

It’s been a strange spring.

Our normal business was punctuated by some interesting events – don’t worry, all is well. But in my typical style, I pushed and pushed to get through and found myself sicker than I had been in a long time. After some steroids and strong antibiotics, I was still feeling just crummy. I realized that I had been ignoring that voice saying slow down for so long, my body was physically forcing me to do so.

I gave in and decided it was time to be quiet. To give into that voice and just sit still. And the more I listened, I felt the need to push push push melt away.

I’ll need that drive back soon. But for today, I’m just going to enjoy some quiet and breathe.

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Salmon Grain Bowl

Lent is a good time for a lot of things – praying more and figuring out how not to eat meat on Fridays are two of the big ones for me. I don’t know why, but tell me there’s no meat, and that’s literally all I can think about eating.

With little planning last Friday night, I found a sorry amount of veggies left in the refrigerator, salmon (see! at least I was trying to not eat meat) and some pesto. I suddenly remembered a delicious grain bowl recipe I made last summer and started compiling what I had. It turned out delicious!

Ingredients:

So for this Friday, give this guy a whirl to stay on track this Lenten season:

Fresh salmon: 1/2 – 1lb depending on if you want leftovers

Farro: 2 cups

Veggies: I like broccoli and cauliflower

Pesto: bottled or homemade

Balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese

Salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. On a sheet, toss cauliflower with salt, pepper and olive oil (cauliflower takes longer to roast so put it in first). Roast for 25-30 minutes
  3. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper on salmon
  4. On the same sheet (or separate, your call) toss broccoli olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Pop pan with salmon and broccoli in for roughly 15-20 minutes depending on how big your cut of salmon is.
  6. Cook Farro according to instructions
  7. When the veggies come out of the oven, grate parm over the top
  8. Layer in a bowl: farrow, veggies, salmon and pesto.
  9. Drizzle with balsamic to taste
  10. Eat and enjoy!

Ok, yes. I did get a little out of control with the parm. But it was delicious!

 

 

 

Sibling Love

Driving to school yesterday, I was in my own head and trying to tune out the argument coming from the backseat about where someone’s stuff animal could sit and where someone’s backpack should go. But then after a minute of silence, I overheard this:

“Sissy. When you go the ballet next time with Grandma, can I go too?”

“Sure, buddy. I think you’re big enough now.”

“How big do you have to be??”

“……..”

“Like how high is the stick??”

“………OH! Like on a ride at Disneyland?? No no, you don’t have to be tall. I mean OLD enough. You’re old enough. You can be any height, you just have to be able to stay up late!”

“Are you KIDDING me?! I can do THAT!”

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Happy New Year 2017!

Wowza. It feels like it was yesterday I was sitting here typing away and thinking about the past year. And yet there’s been a whole 365 days since I wrote this post about my resolutions for 2016. What a year it’s been!

My goals for 2016 were simply written, but given what we did this year, were not always easy to tackle! I wanted to 1. Have No Negative, 2. Have Less Noise and 3. I’ll Do Me. I think focusing on those things allowed me the time and space I needed to do the things I really wanted to do. Well, except one…

I failed miserably at the Less Noise part. It  was supposed to include no long term volunteer commitments for this school year which should have allowed me to just jump in where and when I wanted to. Instead I am Auggie’s class room mom, his soccer coach, was a committee member of the school auction and now the co-chair of the St.Mary’s Centennial Gala. So, yeah. I probably should have written “take on too much” and then when I did the opposite, it would have been helpful. But I have to say, it is all really good. I worked with and am working with people I love and while I was in no way qualified to be a soccer coach, we had an amazing time!

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Given all those commitments, we were neck deep in remodeling our house. Which is one of the reasons my  posts here have been sporadic at best. More on the other reason to come. But for the house, here’s what we did in a nutshell:

We boxed up 3/4ths of our house

Moved out with the other 1/4 of crap

Gutted our house

Put it back together

Moved it all back in 6.5 months later

We are still finishing the final touches… for now. They say when you’re house is done, you die. So I guess the upside is that we’re going to live forever because the list of “phases” keeps growing. I think we’re on phase 15. With about 25 more to go…

from this…

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To this in just 6ish months and many many dollars

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Despite all the house craziness, we were able to get away a few times. We traveled separately and together and it was all awesome.

Mexico

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Disneyland

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Montana

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San Diego

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Oceanside

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One of my main goals for 2016 that I didn’t really write down was to start my writing business. It’s funny, I’m not where I thought I would be, but where I landed is so much better. I finally returned the email I wrote about last year. I negotiated a deal and started the freelance writing “course”. I worked through the exercises and geared up for my first call with the woman who wrote the course. I was so excited to hear her expertise and get her insight….and then she blew me off. And then rescheduled our call. And when we finally did get to talk, she yawned at my work. Like for real. It made me so mad that she was so dismissive of me and my goals – I never finished the course or contacted her for our next meeting. No Negative. See? I got one of them right.

And I’m so glad I did. Instead of moving forward with the course, I contacted friends. Friends who write, friends with small businesses, friends who are just damn good at being cheerleaders. I asked for their opinions, I made a few deals and I got busy writing. And it is awesome. I’ve made contacts and work seems to keep finding me (www.bethwand.com!) It’s a huge and exciting challenge, and  it makes my soul happy.

What’s in store for 2017? I think I’m going to keep working on that Less Noise part. And also:

  • Balance – How do you get it all done?? I have no idea, but I’m going to keep working on finding balance, maintaining balance, and most importantly and most difficult for me is letting a few things go in the name of balance.
  • Reconnect – It’s so easy to fall away from old friends when your lives take different paths. Even when your lives take the same path, there’s always something to distract us. This year will be a good year to reconnect with some friends and keep the momentum of contact going.
  • Keep thinking about and working towards Less Noise, No Negative and I’ll Do Me. I think those things got us pretty far in 2016. Here’s hoping 2017 is juuust a little quieter.