Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grief Doesn't Define You...

I read (or listened to, actually) the book "The Fault in Our Stars" earlier this summer. It's a tragic love story about teens with cancer. I decided to listen to it after a few friends raved about it. I don't typically read things that I know will tug on my heartstrings. I fall apart too easily, and don't really feel like my fiction should be depressing. I guess knowing what it was about going in helped me enjoy it more than those difficult "surprises" that some authors throw in (you know, when a character dies and the reader is totally unprepared?) 

Anyway, there was some really good stuff in that book. A quote that I thought was a good one is, "Grief doesn't define you...it reveals you." I thought about how grief has impacted my life. Sometimes it really feels like I Am Grief. A walking, talking example of a grieving parent. When I talked to my counselor (about 2-3 years after Evan's death) about how I was having a tough time, she told me to look back and see how far I've come, instead of focusing so much on how much more I have to go. 

So, having read this quote, I wonder to myself, what has grief revealed about me. I guess I'm still figuring that out. 

What has grief revealed about you?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

I was lazy and didn't actually take these pictures on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (which is the 15th of each month.) I took them a few days earlier. I could have added a few more pictures of other things blooming (Echinacea, Rudbekia), but there again, lazy.

This summer has been pretty dry, but most of my plants still look pretty happy. Well, anyway, here are a couple of things that were in bloom on the 15th.




Crape Myrtle, aka Evan's Tree. I think this is "Acoma." It stands a good 10 feet tall. When my parents gave us this little tree after Evan was born in 2004, it was less than 2 feet tall! It's grown into a lovely specimen!


I think I usually manage to kill/chop back this Gladiolus each year. It's something the previous owners planted. It's beautiful and TALL! It's probably 5 or 6 feet tall...and right in front of our front windows. So, a little too tall. But still very pretty!



Monday, July 14, 2014

Swim Team!

After hearing the glowing reviews of the neighborhood swim team by some mom friends, I decided to sign my kids up this year. They had had swim lessons these last few years, but just a few, and only to learn the basics. Being on the swim team meant daily (during the week) practices, and learning the strokes. Both kids started the season as coach assisted swimmers. That means they both had a coach in the pool with them as they swam down the length of the pool. 

We didn't realize that for the 7 and 8 year old age group, Duncan would not be allowed to have a coach with him at the meets. So, that first meet was a little scary for him. He got in the pool (after much discussion with his coach) for backstroke, and when the horn sounded, he turned over and did freestyle to the end of the pool! He got out and hugged me and cried. Poor boy! The next week, however, he was ready! 

Those first few meets he would swim a couple of strokes, then hold onto the rope, then swim a bit, then rest. The meet at the pool where the young swimmers finished in the deep end (12 feet deep!) was especially challenging. It all started at the starting block. Even though I'd avoided any mention of The Deep End, he is an observant little boy. He knew it was Deep! He got on the block to start the race, the horn blew, and he stood there. I saw the coaches talking to him. He got down. I thought he was going to scratch. Then, all of a sudden, one of the coaches picked Duncan up, and tossed him in! The crowd gasped! I was all, "What the...???!!!" Once he was in the pool he swam a bit, rested a bit...until he got to the abyss (because, seriously! I think it really looked like that to him!) He paused there for a while. The crowd for both teams started cheering him on. He swam, he rested...he made it! Everyone cheered! He got out and fell into my arms, crying. He was so scared. I was so proud! He didn't give up. The coach that threw him in hastened to tell me that she had his permission to do that! 

By the last few meets Duncan was swimming freestyle and a respectable backstroke without stopping at all! 

Miranda was part of the 6 and under age group. The little ones are allowed a coach with them, but the race is automatically disqualified. Not a big deal for newbies. She has improved a great deal, too. But, honestly, I think she appreciates swim team more for the social aspect.




On your mark, get set...


Go! Miranda was known as "The Girl that Doesn't Get Her Hair Wet." When Miranda and her coach got to the end of the pool, Miranda said, "We won!"


Duncan swimming the backstroke.


And, he finishes!


Miranda loved the young coaches!





There are a lot of pictures of Miranda, looking like a turtle with her head out, but with a huge smile on her face! When she did stick her little face in the water to blow bubbles, she concentrated so hard on the bubble blowing, that her arms and legs stopped the stroke!


Duncan jumps in for freestyle.


I know it's blurry, but it's still cool to have an action pic!


And, he's done!


Both kids earned a trophy for participating on the swim team this year. I used to be one of those parents that didn't think kids should get trophies for participation, but these kids were so proud of their awards, that I saw that it was worth it, and that their efforts were worth awarding!


Duncan also received the coaches award for Most Improved Swimmer for the 7/8 Boys. We couldn't be prouder of this little guy!