Thursday, April 16, 2015

her final goldfish swim, otherwise known as tough parental decisions

today at our swim school, a difficult decision was made real.  a decision that we don't want to make as parents, when you and your child disagree on something, and you have to decide what the right path is.  whether or not you're right, or your child is right.  whether ending something is actually the right thing to do, whether it means it's truly the end or the beginning of something else.  today, harper ended swim lessons.

she officially ended lessons with maggie back in september, and moved up to rec team.  she was excited, but also tired and done.  she rarely complained, but there were a few tears here and there.  there were some nerves.  there were also smiles and laughs.  after 6 months of thursday night 7:30 pm hour-long practices, when we wouldn't get home until close to 9 pm and she'd fall into bed, already exhausted from a busy week at school, we moved her back to private lessons with maggie.  we thought it might help re-strengthen her strokes and get her endurance up and her focus back.

after almost 2 months of individual lessons though, maggie told us she's got the strokes, she has the skills, she needs the endurance of rec team.  but harper wasn't having it.  she just asked for a break.  she wanted to stop swimming.  she wants to just play in the water and be a kid.  as parents, we talked.  we rationalized.  we weighed pros and cons.  we gathered opinions.  but honestly, how can you argue with your child when she just doesn't have the heart anymore?

deep down, i want her to keep swimming.  she's really, really good.  i can see her eventually swimming for a local team or her school.  but what my heart hears is harper telling me she wants to stop.  and as a parent, these are tough decisions.  but ultimately, it's not my life that she's living.  it's hers.  and if we push her too much now, we could run the risk of her hating the sport later on and harboring ill feelings towards something we forced her to do.  and i would hate that even more.

maggie thinks she'll be back, that she'll miss it and want to swim again.  i hope so, but if it never happens, then at least we've accomplished well more than we set out to do.  she's safe in the water.  she's a strong swimmer, her best strokes are back and breast.  she has a wonderful swimming role model to help guide her should she come back to it.  and she's happy.  she's happy to have learned to swim and she's happy to be taking a break. 

and ultimately, that's the only thing we truly wish for as parents, that our children are happy.  that the choices they make and the ones we make for them lead to a lifetime of happiness.  and just for today at least, we accomplished that for harper.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

our easter weekend

we just returned from a quick 4 day vacation to visit topher and teppie in virginia in their new house and to celebrate easter with my entire family.  we decided to bring our easter baskets along, just in case the easter bunny wanted to find us and fill our baskets.  the girls and i decorated eggs the day before, and awoke sunday to the egg bowl empty and the eggs and baskets hidden.  the girls were up before anyone else, so we hunted while the rest of the house was sleeping.

we celebrated easter mass at topher and teppie's church, and then spent the rest of the day doing a little of this and a little of that- hiking at a local park close to the potomac river, helping with outdoor chores, and cooking up a late-night meal.  unfortunately, nana fell as she was getting out of bed friday morning and broke her humerus bone in her arm, so she was relegated to the couch for a majority of our trip.  teppie brightened up her view with tulips, which made for a really fun photo prop.

on monday, the girls and i headed to the salon to get hair cuts with teppie.  she was able to clean up the girls' chlorine hair from their weekly swim lessons, and give them fresh, shorter cuts for spring.  they soaked up the relaxation of the salon, and all the attention that two little girls with plastic bags and heaters on their head will gather.  they were amazingly well behaved, and i am just in love with their new cuts.

over the weekend, we were also able to squeeze in a visit with our cousins and their new third baby girl at a fun, local park so the kids could run around.  and monday evening, i met up with a friend i've known through instagram for almost 2 years, and since she's a photographer, we had our entire family pictures taken.  it's funny meeting someone for the first time who you've only known through social media.  we knew so much about each other, because pictures and stories and snippets into our days for the past 2 years tell you a whole lot about a person, but it was still the first time i was "meeting" her.  we talked and talked and talked outside a coffee shop before the photo shoot, and could definitely have talked some more.

tuesday morning, we packed up and headed home.  the girls were fabulous travel companions and our trip each way took less than 8 hours.  and now we're home and getting ourself back to the rest of our spring break week, enjoying these last couple of days before hitting the home stretch of school before summer vacation.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015


one annual tradition that can get very messy and can also make this mama a bit stressed and nutso, but alas, it's tradition- the dyeing of the easter eggs.  each year it does seem to get more fun, but also seems to have me giving more direction- don't crack the egg.  don't spill the dye.  watch your knee.  don't shake the dipper.  since we're on vacation in virginia for easter this year, i was also super cautious and paranoid of topher and teppie's new wood floor and kitchen counter in their home they just spent over a year renovating.  but the girls did fine and we didn't make any permanent messes.  and they seemed to enjoy it more this time, as did i.

Friday, April 3, 2015

my morning

another prompt from the challenge i'm doing this month- my morning.  our first morning on our short spring break vacation.  the girls are loving the pets- nike, the macaw, and nila and calee, the pups.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

next to me

continuing the april challenge for today- i love taking on little challenges that get me out of my comfort zone.  i just upgraded my camera in february, and have been wanting to play, but i hate just snapping photos for the heck of it, because then i have 300 photos and don't want to edit them.  i have to have a purpose.  and now i do.

today's prompt was {next to me}.  i set up our tripod and asked the girls to help.  coffee is always seeming to be next to me lately, and so are my little girls.  crosby wasn't feeling well this morning and resisted at first, but when she saw the fun harper and i were having, she wanted to join in.  harper loved being able to take first glance at the shot we just got using the self-timer, so she was more than happy to keep trying.  she told me several times, "you're not looking at the camera, mom, we have to re-do this." silly one.  sometimes, that's the idea i have in my head is not to look at the camera.  here's my favorite and what i posted to instagram.

the most amazing thing about these photos this morning is that we actually had time to do them.  and i wasn't rushing to just fit them in, but we took our time and you can't see any stress or anxiety or on-the-verge-of-tearsness on anyone.  this was just a calm morning, when both girls had woken up early enough that breakfast was done and cleaned up.  lunches were packed and set in backpacks by the door.  teeth were brushed. and we just had time to play.  it sets the intention for our day so much better when our mornings go this smoothly, rather than rushing out the door with yells and demands and screams and tears.  i long for these mornings.  they don't happen often, but i enjoy them in my mind over and over when they do.

these were the outtakes.  still favorites.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

happy april

it's april 1st and today's weather was a sunny, warm high 60s and such a change from recent chilly, wet and windy wintry weather.  it was perfect for being outside, busting out the chalk, playing hide-and-go-seek and of course snapping with my big girl camera.  i was asked to be an alumni helper for an online photography course i recently finished, which means i get to help other students taking the class and i'm enjoying seeing so many photographers grow.  so i get to practice and share, too.  i'm also participating in beth-a-dilly's 365 challenge, but have only just now joined this month.  i don't know how long it will last, but i'm aiming for trying out the month of april.  just another reason to snap away.  my girls are so lucky.  i can already hear the grunts and groans.