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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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.

View More: http://dreamphotographystudio.pass.us/wandfamily

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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.

 

More Montana 2016

The rest of the week was jam packed. Did I mention that the Dehaven’s came to visit? They always bring the fun. And Jeff shared his pictures too!

 

We rodeo’d in Livingston…

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We creeked…

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Which lead to a lot of this….

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Do you see the fish right in front of Baylor?!

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And after taking a year off from our last Yellowstone Park visit, we again braved the winding roads with all 7 of us. This trip went far better and we even made it all the way to Old Faithful without murdering each other and only one person vomiting. Success!

Stephanie studying the warnings carefully…

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The amazing Grand Prismaticsimg_4923

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I’m so bummed – the colors of the pools are amazing – but it was barely 32 degrees and so the steam made it hard to see.img_4962img_4987

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A tourist died earlier this year jumping into one of these pools. It’s so hot, by the next morning, they could only find a few bones….img_5086

We also got to see the Beehive Geyser. It’s less predictable than Old Faithful, erupts for a shorter period of time but is as intense. Plus you can get a lot closer!

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And the Old Faithful Lodge was fantastic. At 112 years old, it’s seen some amazing history. Also I’m sure it’s haunted.

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And it wouldn’t be Montana without visiting the Long’s for some horseback riding lessons. The girl’s favorite, Duke, was donated to a school to be a therapy horse. They get reports once in awhile about how happy he is to be ridden every day! Thankfully the ladies were happy to give Heidi a try – and they now have a new favorite.

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Auggie is still not sure he’s a fan

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And we drove kids and a dog around in a gater. While taking selfies. This looks safe, right?

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Montana; Water, Parading and Celebrating

A little catch up from earlier this year…!

When we finally landed home in Arizona, I realized how physically exhausted I was…but how refreshed my brain felt! I think that sums up a good Montana vacation – physically hard, mentally great.

We packed a LOT into our two weeks!

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I don’t think anyone enjoys the river as much as this fur faceIMG_4853IMG_4864IMG_4867IMG_4861

How pretty is Chico Hot Springs? The water in the pool is fed by a natural hot spring – the water is about 103 degrees. It’s strange to swim in a hot tub but a good strange.

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The Fourth of July Parade in Livingston is one of my favorite things. Seriously, how cute is this town?

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This guy’s style is so on point. He is obsessed with Baylor’s hand me down boots.IMG_9690

Patiently waiting.IMG_9712IMG_9699

Less patiently waiting.IMG_9713IMG_9746

There’s either a firetruck, ambulance, forest service vehicle or farm machine coming…IMG_9733

This guy lassoing these crazies was hilarious. I think I need one. IMG_9742

They even made the local paper! This was the picture on page 7 of the Livingston Enterprise.

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Children wait along Main Street for the next float handing out candy during the Livingston Roundup Parade, Saturday afternoon.

We spent the 4th at the lodge celebrating with all our friends and family. And of course, we have our annual flag picture.

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Gorgeous sunsets waiting for fireworks.IMG_9839

Baylor is not a fan of sparklers.IMG_4846

But Auggie is!IMG_4848IMG_4875

Auggie got to go on his first rafting trip down the Yellowstone! It was with our friends at Wild West Rafting and as usual, it was a boat full of fun. IMG_4714IMG_4717IMG_4724

Saturday Hikes

A few times this summer, I convinced myself to ignore the urge to sleep in on a Saturday and went for a hike. Each time I realized how amazing it was to watch the sunrise from the side of a mountain. How much cooler the air was at 6am at the peak of Camelback. And how nice it was to enjoy some peace and quiet without having to watch the clock.

This past weekend, I was treated to a truly breathtaking sunrise, vegetation that was greener than I’ve seen in months and a cool breeze with just a few sprinkles of rain.

I looked like a total tourist taking so many pictures, but I really couldn’t resist. At least I wasn’t hauled off the mountain by paramedics like a tourist so there’s that.

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Seriously, I couldn’t get over how green it was

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A view from the top

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Missing June

Before I get into the fun we had in Montana, I neglected a few of the things we did in June this year. I normally do a post for B’s birthday, my birthday, our anniversary…and yet here we are, staring down the barrel of school starting and not a post to be seen.

In my defense, it’s been busy.

The house is coming along – you can actually see where the new walls are going to be. And with a whole new sewer line that runs through the entire house, we shouldn’t ever have to use the phrase “shitter’s full”. So there’s that.  This is all a long way of saying instead of blogging, I’ve be housing. Yes, it’s a verb. Ask anyone who has remodeled.

So, without further delay, the missing June posts.

Sweet Baylor turns Seven.

You, my gorgeous daughter, are by far the smartest, most challenging, loving and wonderful girl. Your potential will only ever be limited by your desire – you will move mountains.

I am so proud of the hard work you put into school, into making new friends, into learning to read and do math. I love your enthusiasm for swim team this summer and for your ability to conquer your fears. Your hustle for sports is growing and it’s amazing. You are so beautiful and your outer beauty is only eclipsed by your beautiful heart. Watching your faith in God grow and your kindness spread – especially to strangers in need – makes my heart happy.

Year six was a pretty amazing year. But I think seven is going to top it.

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Love this kid. Gangsta face in a doughnut float.

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The Momma turns Thirty Something….

So this is one of those birthdays that makes me feel old. Not as much physically, but the number is a little up there. However, I really really really like my birthday. So while the number can be a little shocking, I’m always grateful for one more year to celebrate. And having good health, a happy family, fantastic friends, a good wig and the realization of a few dreams while still having time to dream up new ones? Well that’s just the icing on the cake.

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Also? This is the kind of old person I plan to be. Just bat shit crazy in the best way. Good news is that I think I’m already there. Check. Mark.

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Happy Anniversary

Every year when I bring up our anniversary, Peter argues with me about the number of years we’ve been married. He always thinks it’s less than the actual number. Which I think is better than him feeling like it’s been much much much longer.

We celebrated 11 years married and this year marks 17 together (also the other reason I’m feeling real old). We will have been together more than half my life this year, which is a nutty statistic and yet such an awesome one. It’s amazing to think how much we’ve both changed – we’ve grown up together. We’ve watched each other go from nerdy (ok, just me) teenagers, to college coeds, to young adults, graduate student, newly weds, homeowners, parents…and thankfully the list keeps growing.

The traditional 10 year anniversary gift is tin, but since we redid our pool last summer we decided the gift would be PebbleSheen. Which is not really romantic, however very enjoyable. We say “happy anniversary!” every time we slide our feet over the smooth surface of the pool.

Thankfully the traditional 11th anniversary gift is far more appropriate for us this year. As the contractors were bracing a new steel beam in our living room, I pointed and said “happy anniversary!”. Maybe 11 years is when most married couples go broke on a remodel so they made the gift steel. Makes sense to me.

Happy anniversary PW!

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Oh, Hey There

I’ve written this post in my head several times. And the list about where I’ve been and what we’ve been doing keeps getting longer and longer and longer. It’s been a whole new level of nutty around here – but as usual, it’s a good nutty!

More to come on all of the below, but in case it takes me another month to get back to blog, he’s a taste of what we’ve been up to…

First – we moved. No really. I can hardly believe it myself. I was convinced that when we started our remodel, we were going to be able to live in the house – or at least do it in phases. Then reality hit and it became clear that we had to move everything out of the house. Like everything. I think I was still telling myself that it wasn’t REALLY everything as I was moving each room. Thankfully it all got done and we are now settled in to the parent’s house while they are away for the summer. And fingers crossed we’ll be move in ready by the time they are ready to head South or things are going to get a liiiitttle squishy around here….don’t worry Noni, Baylor said she’ll share a bed with you.

The remodel is in full swing with sledgehammers flying. Even though it’s the beginning and there’s more undone than done, I can see it. I can see what it will look like, and it’s going to be awesome. And because “we” (oh yeah, I put quotes there, PW) are project managing it, it’s been busy with decisions, scheduling and lots of running around to find what we want and at the best prices. It’s nutty. But it will be worth it. If we don’t go broke in the process. Any time we get an unexpected expense (which we knew were coming!), I read the kids an extra book because they’re going to need college scholarships. Kidding. Kind of.

Let’s see…what else? Oh! Baylor graduated kindergarten! As I watched her walk across the stage and get her diploma, I was filled with gratitude. We are so lucky that we listened to our collective guts and that there was a space available for her at this school. It’s such an amazing community of funny,  kind, fun loving people. From the staff, to the teachers to the parents. What an amazing year it’s been!

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And that same little face turned SEVEN yesterday. Seven! Where do the years go? Although I have to say, I think this was my favorite birthday so far. She was incredibly spoiled by all her family members – including new golf clubs. And my sweet pokie little puppy’s speed aligns perfectly with the speed of golf. Look out, Annika Sorenstam.

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Auggie boy wrapped up his time at his preschool and is off to school with Baylor next year! He’s super pumped about a uniform – no seriously. He “performed” in the gymnastics show and got his coveted blue ribbon. He’s actually pretty good – I think he’s got a few more years working on his cartwheel ahead of him.

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Peter and his Teal Tornados finished another great season. It was amazing to see how the team had improved from last year to this year. Next year he will have Baylor AND Auggie’s teams to coach – and Baylor’s team will be doing player pitch. I think he’s secretly really excited for the challenge.

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Oh! And Disneyland! Because things were nutty enough, we decided to take the kids to Disney over spring break. Which I foolishly thought since our spring break was so late, that it would be quiet. It was not. But it was Auggie’s first trip and it was very fun. I think we tried to pack too much into two days, but at least we’ll know for next time.

I swear he was having a good time despite what his face looks like….

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And last but not least, I’ve started to make good on my New Year’s resolution. It’s amazing what putting something out in the world will do! Not long after my post went up, a friend reached out about some content writing work. Then another. Then I finally started that freelance writing class I had put off for a year and it turned out to be a bust. But it enlightened me to realize that I really do like doing content writing. It seems that work keeps finding me, and when it does, I am always silently amazed and awed. It’s been hard, and yet really fulfilling which means it’s meant to be. I’ve got my website up – it’s rough so don’t get too critical. It’s a work in progress that I can keep my publications listed and hopefully keep it growing. Let me know what you think: www.bethwand.com. No really, let me know what you think (just don’t be mean!).

More to come – I miss this place!

 

Easter 2016

As we drove to mass this morning, Baylor and Auggs each told us what Easter meant. They talked about how Jesus died because He loves us so much. How He opened the gates of Heaven and then how He rose from the dead. It was so sweet to hear them speak about our faith so perfectly.

After yet another amazing brunch at my mom’s, we headed over to her friend and neighbor’s house. Joyce offered up her yard for an egg hunt. It was like being in a secret garden!

IMG_9217IMG_9231IMG_9220IMG_9229IMG_9242IMG_9245IMG_9248IMG_9251 (2)Happy Easter!