Monday, August 27, 2012

Thirteen—It won't be like this for long...

Over the weekend, we hit a milestone in our house . . . our firstborn child became a teenager!

It's hard to believe it's been 13 years since this little angel came into our world and changed it forever.

Now, she's blossoming into a beautiful young woman.

She got her braces off just days before her birthday...what a beautiful smile!

We celebrated with a fun party with a few of her closest friends.

She picked a black, white, and hot pink color scheme.

The dining room decorations turned out darling!

A custom-made banner hung above the back door.

Chocolate cupcakes, with homemade cream cheese frosting & hot pink sprinkles.

She's so lucky to have an amazing group of best friends!

I sometimes forget that she's "just" 13. She is wise far beyond her years in so many ways.

She is unbelievably kind and loving with her brothers. Even when they drive her nuts. She still loves to play with them, and I hope that continues forever (wishful thinking, I'm sure!).

She is incredibly responsible. I used to joke that we could leave her home alone for the weekend with the boys and everyone would fare just fine. Now, Steve and I can (though we don't do it nearly often enough) go on dates and not have to pay a sitter. It's a little taste of heaven!

She is driven and self-motivated. I never have to ride her to do her homework, she just buckles down and gets it done.

She's not afraid to try new things, even when they're scary or daunting. She went surfing for the first time last month down in So. Cal, and didn't give up until she got up.

About a week before her birthday we were talking in the kitchen while making dinner and I asked her if she still loved her room (we redid her room last year for her birthday, with the agreement that whatever she picked had to last through high school). She turned to me and, with a completely serious face, said "Oh yes . . . I love it. It will totally last me another 5 years until I move into my dorm." I nearly fell over.

Five years? Is that all I have left with her??? When she was born, 18 years seemed like an eternity. Now, it's not nearly long enough.

Last week we were in the car, and I desperately needed a break from hearing Carly Rae Jepson's "Call Me Maybe" and switched the station to country, much to Olivia's chagrin. A song came on that I'd never heard before, and within seconds, the tears were strolling down my face so fast that it was hard to see the road.

He didn't have to wake up
He'd been up all night
Layin' there in bed listenin'
To his new born baby cry
He makes a pot of coffee
He splashes water on his face
His wife gives him a kiss and says
It's gonna be OK

It won't be like this for long
One day we'll look back laughin'
At the week we brought her home
This phase is gonna fly by
So baby just hold on
'Cause it won't be like this for long

Four years later 'bout 4:30
She's crawling in their bed
And when he drops her off at preschool
She's clinging to his leg
The teacher peels her off of him
He says what can I do
She says now don't you worry
This'll only last a week or two

It won't be like this for long
One day soon you'll drop her off
And she won't even know you're gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It won't be like this for long

Someday soon she'll be a teenager
And at times he'll think she hates him
Then he'll walk her down the aisle
And he'll raise her veil
But right now she's up and cryin'
And the truth is that he don't mind
As he kisses her goodnight
And she says her prayers

He lays down there beside her
'Til her eyes are finally closed
And just watchin' her it breaks his heart
Cause he already knows

It won't be like this for long
One day soon that little girl is gonna be
All grown up and gone
Yeah, this phase is gonna fly by
So, he's tryin' to hold on

'Cause it won't be like this for long

No, it won't be like this for long
-Darius Rucker

I'm trying to savor every minute—the good and the bad and everything in between—because I know it's true. It won't be like this for long.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A record breaking year!

We completed our 6th season of summer league swim team a few weeks ago.

Over the years, we've really made some great friends on the team, and I think I look forward to swim season as much as the kids. It forces me to spend a couple of hours each day just enjoying the fresh air, chatting with my friends, and not feeling weighed down with the demands and responsibilities I face at home.

A few years ago, the coaches approached me about helping them create their top secret costumes for Championships. They had heard I could sew and was a little crafty . . .

The first year, I didn't let on what I could do and just made the shoulder banner for this costume:

The next year was the release of the iPhone 4, thus the release of the iSharks:

Last year, the coaches were the Jolly Green Giants (complete with custom-made elf shoes!).

This year, they said they wanted to play off Nascar and be Sharkscar Pit Crew. A few late night crafting sessions with my good friend and fellow team parent Christy, and we created these doozies:

The costumes have become a source of great anticipation for the swimmers and parents for weeks ahead of time. I always ask myself why I don't make time for this type of creativity throughout the year, and just cram it all into the already jam-packed weeks prior to championships. . .

Jack really came into his own this year. He's grown significantly this year, and the added strength and size was really on his side. He ended up with three gold medals and a silver medal at championships. His very first race of the day was the Medley Relay. As he and his teammates were in the lineup area, a swimmer on one of the other relay teams said to him "Don't be sad if you get second place."

Jack didn't say a word in response, but made darn sure to put that other team in their place. Not only did Jack and his relay team win gold, they beat the other team by several body lengths!

He was undefeated in butterfly all season, and it was his race to lose at championships. When he dove into the water, he made it very clear that he was in it to win it. His butterfly time was nearly 4 seconds faster than the silver medal winner!

As one of his New Year's Resolutions, Jack had said he wanted to break a pool record for one of his strokes. Finally, at Championships, Jack's free-relay team broke a 15-year old team record by .4 seconds! It was a huge moment!

The winning relay team, consisting of Jack (aka The King), Trevor (aka Six Pack), 
Kyle (aka Coach Kyle), and Joseph (aka Bob Hope)

Grant was his usual charming self all season, preferring to socialize over really getting down to business in the water.

Checking out his competition prior to his race. 
At least he kept his hand out of his pants this year!

This was the first year that there was a 6 & under age group for backstroke. And since Grant was the fastest backstroker in that age group on our team, he is now on the board as a record-holder! He's got one more year to retain the title . . .

Olivia gets discouraged sometimes being in the shadow of her brothers on the team. She is a rock solid swimmer, and has shown great improvements over the last couple of years. While she isn't likely to make it to the Olympics for her swimming abilities, I love that she continues to try and push herself to improve her own times rather than compare herself to others.

Olivia has made some great friends on the team, and they
 push and encourage each other to be their very best. 

It's always a bit of a letdown when swim season ends. The kids miss the daily workouts and playtime with friends (they were all in different practice age groups, so we were there for the long haul every day!). So now begins the 9 month countdown to swim season 2013!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Six years ago yesterday, this little guy joined our family.

Today, he looks like this.

The last few weeks have been a little crazy, to say the least. This past Sunday, I looked at the calendar and realized Grant's birthday was just 3 days away. I almost nominated myself for mom of the year.

I hastily texted a couple of his friends, asking if they could come along with us on a birthday outing. Two of the three responded yes. Party was on!

We started the day off with donuts.

Then home for family presents (no sense in waiting until later!).

At 11:00, we picked up the two friends, and headed to McDonald's for lunch.

Then, we hit the bowling alley, before ending the celebration at Yogurtland for some self-serve frozen yogurt and presents.

Grant has been watching his big brother and sister go golfing every weekend with Steve for the past 2 years. Our country club has a minimum age of 6 to play on the course. In spite of the fact that it was about 100 degrees outside, Grant was insistent that he and Steve play. I swear, Steve has the patience of Job.

Then, dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (his choice!).

His future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades. Even at 9:00 at night. 
Yep, dinner at 9pm. On a weeknight.

To further strengthen my qualifications for "Most Awesome Mom Ever", I tried to talk Grant out of a homemade cake. I was thinking it would be great for CPK to sing and bring him a free brownie sundae. Plus, there would be no leftover cake at home calling to me. He would have nothing of the sort. I had baked the cake earlier in the day, but when we got home at 9:30 from dinner, I had yet to frost it. A few minutes, a stick of butter, some cocoa, and powdered sugar later, we presented him with this. Not my finest work, but she got 'er done.

Still donning the shades. But the golf shirt came off the minute we walked in the house. 
This kid would be naked all day if I'd let him.

Perhaps my lack of planning and enthusiasm for his birthday has less to do with him, and more to do with me resisting him growing up so darn fast.

At six years old, Grant weighs 56 lbs and is 46.5" tall. He had his annual physical yesterday, where the doctor informed us that he's in the 75th percentile for his height, 90th percentile for his weight, and his BMI is in the 95th percentile. She suggested we try and steer away from treats and fast food, get him to eat more fruits and veggies, and get more exercise. Apparently, 4-5 hours of swimming a day isn't enough.

Seriously, does this kid look overweight? I don't think so. He's built like a brick wall!

(Side note: I find humor in the fact that the day after the doctor tells us to watch his weight and food intake, we start the day with donuts, have McD's for lunch, then frozen yogurt, then rich and creamy mac & cheese for dinner, followed by chocolate cake. He did eat 4 strawberries before donuts . . . so that counts for something, right?)

This kid has brought so much life into our home these last six years.

He makes messes like nobody's business.

He's fiercely independent. It's either his way or the highway.

Nothing slows him down. Nothing.
Not a broken arm.
Not his overprotective mom.

He tackles everything he does with gusto.

He was the anchor swimmer for the t-shirt relay at our family swim meet. 
I don't even know what place his team finished, but this was his reaction!

He knows how to make us laugh.

He completes our family. 
He rocks our world. 
Even when he throws us slightly askew.

His face here says it all . . .

Happy Birthday Grant . . . we love you!