Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Protein Shakes and Fumble Fakes

FullSizeRender-2Some consider summer a time of leisure and lazy days.  If you’re into that kind of lifestyle, I sure bet it’s quite like that.  Sipping lemonade and sweet tea on the porch while the sun sets and fireflies make their way across the freshly cut lawn.  The lawn that is greener than green because you actually have the time to care for it.  Then you mosey on in to your covered patio with a Sangria night cap protected from the evening bats and mosquitos.  It all seems absolutely blissful.  I often dream of this leisure way of living but right now, I am on mom mode supercharged and supersized times three.

See I envy you and your leisurely ways of life.  But right now my summer and early Fall was filled with protein shakes and fumble fakes.  We spent summer nights traveling back and forth from OTA’s and two-a-days.  We played Friday Night Lights of a different kind with baseball bats and dust covered hats.  We watched sunsets on practice fields and swatted bees and mosquitos at football games and baseball games.  We blistered in the sun, sweating in places the human body is even surprised.  The last few weeks were spent on cold, damp bleachers where Thursday summer eves FullSizeRender-5turned into Thursday Night Lights.  These nights we were fully immersed in extra layers, cozy spirit wear blankets and hot cocoa straight out of concession stands.  I can assure you it was not Polar Express kind as thick and rich and creamy as hot cocoa can get.  It was Carnation packets emptied into scolding water.  But it was football delight!

Because despite summer porch nights being replaced with team ice cream socials and protein shakes and tenth meals of the day, it was our summer and Fall life.  We wouldn’t trade it for the sweetest of teas or most glorious of sunsets.  Because there is something greater that happens beyond the football pads, baseball hats and fold-up chairs permanently affixed in your trunk.  There is this sweet little thing called a sports family.  FullSizeRender-3

It’s the people who check in to remind you what color socks to wear.  It’s the people who send you an early morning text to wish your boys good luck.  It’s the people who help you transport your kids when you have to be at another field.  It’s the grandparents of other kids who treat yours as if they are their own.  It’s every parent who catches your child in a photograph during that incredible play you missed because you got stuck in a port-a-potty.

It is the coach who runs after you post game to tell you how truly proud of your child FullSizeRenderthey were during that game today.  It is the parent who runs down to make sure your child will get up again.  It is the coach who calls you to tell you he won’t let your child miss another game for a less than stellar test score.  It’s the teachers who stay late to help make that happen and the ones who come in early.  It’s the parent who takes your child home from school and to practice so you can trek across town to watch another.

It’s everyone you least expected to be there for you and your kids that have proven to be there through thick and thin.  It is your sports family.  They don’t just disappear when the season ends and the scoreboard dims.  They ride out every hurdle, hiccup, great play and carpool need until the season begins again next year.

They share the teary eyes and wider than grin smiles with you and your children.  They share in the high fives and bumps and bruises.  They let you know your son is in an ice bath and he will be right out “so hang tight, Mom”.  It’s the parent that looks back in the stands and shares a moment because they just watched that play involving your child too.   It’s the “I got your back” moments when you just don’t have the words to express your need.

Then there’s the ones who remain silent and out of nowhere send you a text that says….”PS, you rock and NEVER stop being mom!”  It is a moment like that which melts your heart and makes you smile.  Because sometimes we get defeated being all in for our children.  We feel under appreciated and worn out.  We dream of lazy summer days and cozy Fall nights.  Then we get that wink, that high five, that hug or thank you from a player, maybe not even your own, that makes it all worth it!

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Little League Moment in Buddha Fashion

In one final rally, the boys tried to hold on to their lead to advance to the next round of the 9u baseball playoffs. It was not in their cards. Not this time. Not this year. Not this season.

I went over to the dugout after Noochie’s last “at bat” and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. He was never going to release them but they were there, they were real and yet he wasn’t going to let them be in charge.

He held his head up high and congratulated every member of the other team. He thanked his coaches and teammates and he looked at me in Mogwai glances and then we headed to the car.

The silence overcame us as we drove off and made our way to get his other brother at football. When we arrived, he said to me, “I’m running to the “restroom”. Which for where we were, translated to the top of the football field hill and into the woods.

As time passed it dawned on me he had not yet returned to the car. I looked up the hill and there he was, in Buddha fashion, sitting cross-legged and reflecting.

I knew exactly what he needed from the moment. I knew exactly what he was reflecting on. I knew he would work it out within himself to regroup and move on. I knew he let the tears, finally take charge.

When he returned to the vehicle he was more at peace with himself. The somber look dissipated and he was humbled. I asked him if he was alright and he replied, “I’m better now, it’s hard, I don’t want the season to end and I wanted my final game to be better than the way I performed. But I looked the other way towards my football practice field and I’m ready to transition to that game. I’m not letting myself down because I learned a lot. I’m just ready to be a better version of me next year.”

Ten years old and so wise beyond his years.

We talk a lot about mindfulness. We talk about communicating with each other and unconditionally supporting our little family of four, the boys and I.  They have seen me at both states. Those were I let the moment take control of me and other times when I stayed grounded and mindful. Yet, of all of us, he can practice this trait the best.

Mindfulness.

He is a constant reminder to me of what’s truly important. When to acknowledge it’s sometimes best to head for the hill. When to engage and when to simply just walk away; sometimes not even turning back.

The field dust will always be there behind us and the emptiness that takes over the bases, mound and plate sometimes is a reality. But what really matters is taking what you learned from every base, every hit and strike out, every walk and every run and make the next time around, a better version of you.


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Thank Goodness He Ate the Sour Crouch

Happy New Year! Goals started and failed and re-evaluated and started again and then dropped and left for 2017. It happens. Always. Every year. The one constant. 

Yet for the boys they hold a very literal and special meaning to the idea of a “do over”. This year was all about their academic goals and being their personal best. As mother, I’m all in!

So, because I fear of the Italian Moliok and superstition of not consuming a pig and fermented cabbage on New Years Day would bring gloom and doom to Camp P, I ventured off bright and early on 1-1-2016 to gather up a piggy and some kraut. If I’m gonna do this, ingest this delicacy and force it onto my kids, I’m at least gonna do it in better quality format. 

Whole Foods surely must sell and offer up a cleaner pig? Surely organic sauerkraut would taste better than the Eagles nest pouch of slop. So I decide to leave the boys home alone while I run to the grocer. Ten minutes into the ride and with only freeway cement between them and myself, I freak out. 

  

Source:  yahoo images. 

I rethink my whole leaving 3 boys alone and no amount of pork or sauerkraut can change my luck. But I proceed on after calling them 3 times and forcing them to stay on speaker phone with my parents who I remind you are 35 minutes away by car. Yet, I guess we would know if the $h*ts gonna hit the fan even if we can’t help. 

Anyways, I try to select the best piece of pig $26.99 a pound can buy us and after a stressful attempt to walk away from the garbage, I make my purchase. 

The kids survived their Home Alone event and as far as I know there aren’t any burglars having a fake shotgun tear up their minds. I survive the whole ordeal of coming to terms I have to prepare up a pig for health, wealth, prosperity and whatever else legend says. 

Now I have to get the boys on board. So naturally I add some white wine to…I don’t know maybe tenderize the meat? Umm no, because wine makes everything fine. And then viola! Piggy on some kraut. I tell the boys it’s a must and put the fear of the Italian superstition wrath into their minds. I also explain their goals won’t be met if they don’t at least try a little. Because working hard for success isn’t enough anymore, we have to eat pig flesh and soiled cabbage to succeed in 2016. 

They hold their noses, take a deep Ujjayi breath and bite, chew and swallow. Instant luck for the next 365 days!  

 Source: yahoo images 

So fast forward to February when typically most people, including myself, damn you Starbucks, lose sight of their resolutions. Well not the 3 P’s. Report cards came and the results were as follows:

Peeno – all M’s or E’s with +’s. Or whatever alpha character was assigned to denote above average or excellent or emerging. It’s kindergarten and you know that crazy alpha numeric point system you need a masters degree to figure out. All I need to know is will he be able to read and can I assign him chores?

Noochie – straight A’s oh except for Religion at a B+. So close little fella. He has since spent every night in 3rd Quarter having a one on one with the big guy up above. 

Nickelbass – WTF?!? All A’s and B’s. My boy who worked so hard and all the pork and cabbage in the world could not make him perform how he did. This kid worked so incredibly hard and busted his a$$ to achieve the marks he did! Amen to that!

So upon further review and 3 sets of eyes waiting for my reaction to their report cards, I literally jump for joy. I go into the whole Vince Lombardi of what it takes to succeed speech,  how incredibly proud I am and always go the extra mile because it’s never crowded talk. They are delighted. I am delighted. And then Peeno chimes in.”Well you know mommy, thank goodness you forced us to eat that sour crouch, because now we became smart!”

Eh! However they want to relate my fear of superstition to, well then, God Bless. They became smart and we don’t have to eat pork and kraut until 2017! And when in doubt my friends, eat the sour crouch! 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: UP

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Spring. The universal time when the layers come together. Building one upon the other. Where the rooted tree stretches up, reaching for the sky. It stands firm. It is rooted deep into the depths of the earth. Strong but bending to accommodate change. It takes in the light of the mid day’s sky and the buds begin to open…up, and we too awaken.


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Let Running Reign

20130416-110836.jpg “We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” -Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

For a runner, running is freedom.  Running is facing your fears, your “I cannots” and going the extra mile.  When your feet hit the pavement, it creates a symphony.  A collection of notes you create.  You set the tempo, the softness and the beat as you go along with Mother Nature’s rhythm.

Some days we conquer and others days we take it slow, erring on the side of caution. Then there are those days we have no fear.  We plow through. Sometimes we arrive sooner and other times later. But we arrive.  We are present.

We gain acceptance of the challenges, conquer our fears of the unknown and relish in the beauty and adventure. When we finish, we are humbled.  We are strong.  We overcame.  We defeated our negative thoughts.  We made it happen.

Whether we are crossing a finishing line, laying down to rest or slowing down to avoid injury, we conquered.  We let running reign and so to will freedom.


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It’s Nice Not Needing To Be Somewhere, Said The Little Old Lady Who Could

Full moon. Mercury in retro something. It’s all wacked up lately. Everyones crazy. My kids won’t sleep. Things keep breaking and somebody let the dogs out.

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Geesh. Can someone please tell me when it is okay to poke my head out again. I’m afraid I might get blasted with eggs or meteorites. I am not one to believe in all that full moon, mercury in retrograde astronomy hype but I’m telling you, the crazies are out. Plus I am falling off task. I must have an undetected by the human eye rip in my mommy cape because things are just not lining up.

It was foggy as all swamps yesterday and I wasn’t sure if it was Bigfoot or my children’s school bus coming down the street. I could hear the rumble of either beast but it wasn’t until I saw it pulling away from my neighbor’s house, that I realized it was the bus and my kids were not on it.

So I had to hurry now and get all kids to school. It can’t ever be easy where I live in never, ever land. Of course they have to attend three different schools too. By the time I actually arrived at work, I was so confused as to where I had been, that I might have rather been abducted by Bigfoot. At least I would have been able to trace my steps.

So to finish up the full moon mercury rising craze, I accidentally washed a Huggies pull up with a load of laundry last night. Did I ever mention how me and beady things do not get along? If you have ever changed a highly saturated, urine logged diaper you know what I am talking about. The beady explosives are insanely hard to clean up. Even when using an entire box of Huggies Wipes and dry and wet paper towels. Those things will linger on the skin of a child for days.

So just imagine what they do to a load of laundry. Nice. I called it quits after the fourth wash last night. Then I retired. I expected to get 5-6, not years in prison, but hours of sleep. Well Mercury and the full moon met or something and little peanuts woke up at 1:00a.m., 3:00a.m. and then my pooch at 4:30a.m. I hope I shed all the beads, crazies and fog with the next moon cycle.

You have to be able to appreciate these things. How many people can say it was a full moon last night and appreciate it? –Sandy Miller

I met a friend for lunch today. Something which does not happen often. Luckily her little girl is the lead chipmunk in a play and because I live in a home with no pink, purple or fuscia, I had a brown long-sleeved shirt for her to borrow. She gets to transform her daughter into a chipmunk and I get some company for lunch. It’s a win-win for all!

As we went to go pay and rush back to our offices, the computerized cash register had to reboot. Mercury must have really pissed off Mars who then ran to the moon who threw a lassle around Uranus because the little annoyances just will not stop.

Until the little old lady who could, said, to me of all people, “She didn’t mind. She had nowhere to be. It’s nice to not need to be somewhere.” She didn’t mind that the computer was frozen and then had to reboot. She didn’t mind it was pouring rain and the cafe coffee was bitter. She was just present and content. Content to just be.

I loved her for this moment. She was in line next to me to remind me that sometimes, we have to just let it go. Perhaps the harder we resist change and fight the astronomical Gods, the worse off we are.

So many people recount that they are alive today because on September 11, 2001, they woke up late, missed their train, stayed home with their sick child or stopped to help a bystander. We can easily get wrapped up in all our daily B.S. that we forget, that every moment we are moving forward. Even when we think we are treading or taking two steps back, we are actually moving forward.

So my love goes out to the adorable little old lady today at the cafe who could. Who could appreciate the minor annoyance of a slight delay and was just glad for the moment. I thank her for sharing that moment with me. I needed her today. Somebody really was listening when I looked up into the full moon sky last night and wished I may, wished I might…

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I’m a Little Cupcake Short and Sweet

My Creation...Make It Come Alive!

My Creation…Make It Come Alive!

I go against the grain. That’s just what I do. I don’t know any other way to roll. So as this blog has always recommended, when life hands you lemons, of course you can throw them at people but you can also use them. And I do that too. Why waste a perfectly good lemon on someone’s head? Lately, I have been using my lemons to make detox water upon rising but a lemon is a lemon is a lemon. So do what you like. Anyways, you get the idea.

So, when life hands me obstacles like lemons and such, I blog and bake. That’s how Swimgirl and this little blog was born almost a year ago. I had some real sour, expired lemons in my fruit preserving drawer. I wanted to make like a bear and go into hibernation but I refused to abandon the journey. No obstacle, whether small or big was going to stop my chi from flowing. Even though I felt like I was sinking and the May Day! signal was not being picked up, I was still afloat. I started treading. Then eventually I was able to turn around and swim.

So here we are, almost a year later, giggling, swimming, inspiring and blogging. Oh and baking too! I tend to be an emotional eater. I eat when I get bogged down by life’s happenings. So instead of eating my way through the anguish, I bake instead. Then I recruit my three little sons to consume the delectable treats. I feel good and a lick of the batter is enough of an euphoria to take off the life preservers and just swim. So, as life happens and this month got more in-depth, I needed to signal out for an SOS.

Heaven from Earth

Heaven from Earth

First I looked up to heaven from earth. I think I received a few answers because to see this magnificence in the dead of winter, was enough to stoke my inner being and revive my attitude. It’s a gaze into the bigger picture. It’s an awakening by realizing there is so much more than what’s being held within each of us.

It’s the breathe, the new dawn, the glimpse that life will always be the journey, not the final destination. It’s knowing someone somewhere, is looking up at the same sky and in the universe our paths are crossing even if our journey is completely different. We are all one in the same, connected yet separate.

Next a fine espresso drink grounds me as I take joy in heaven in a cup. The bold taste of the espresso coupled with subtle hints of vanilla soymilk foam and a touch of dark chocolate just absorbs the cares of the day. It’s my drink. It’s my restoration smoothie. Holding the cup between my palms connects me with the art involved in creating this beverage.

Some wonder why some spend so much money on a coffee. This my friends is no ordinary coffee. It tells a story. From the seed in which it is made. The seed so intricately planted and cultivated that is harvested by a farmer in a developing country. The Fair Trade practice to empower the farmer and help sustain our planet. Then it is packaged and shipped. When it is ground by my Barista, he or she takes the time to make the perfect espresso, adding the exact amount of ingredients at the right temperature to pass onto me the seed that started it all. My heaven in a cup.

Heaven In a Cup

Heaven In a Cup

So we have heaven from earth, heaven in a cup and heaven on earth via my latest creation. The Grande Mocha Whip Cupcake. I wanted to recreate heaven on earth since life has been handing me lots of yellow produce lately. I wanted to stop, think and listen rather than overeat. I wanted to take a step back and create. Thus, the little cupcake short and sweet was born. It took almost a week to create this lovely piece of joy. Just like when we set out to blog we navigate and create our sites. With trial and error we pick our theme, choose our Gravatar, establish our color scheme and organize our widgets. Then we begin. We tap key after key and before we know it we are blogging. Just like that.

Just like my cupcake was created. Ingredient by ingredient an espresso drink recreated in a cupcake. Rich espresso infused with dark chocolate and vanilla. In the drink version, my favorite part is when the cup runneth dry. Instead of approaching it as my cup is empty, I am full of joy instead. The sweet chocolate syrup at the bottom with white foam. That’s the best part. This was the hardest to replicate. Finally, after good old trial and error, I found the magic ingredient. An Oreo cookie was lined in the muffin tin to recreate the best part of the drink. Yet, the frosting top does not disappoint either as the first layer captures the espresso froth while the next layer captures the vanilla soymilk foam. The hints of espresso and dark, rich chocolate will tempt your soul…wanting more! But why stop there? Why just create and not share?

Filled with life, lessons, laughter and love...it's a blogcake theme!

Filled with life, lessons, laughter and love…it’s a blogcake theme!

So despite the what ifs, and little voices that tell me I would never win, I entered heaven on earth into a cupcake contest. So for the next 14 days my cupcake will be judged by all of you and the world-wide web. It may be hard for the non coffee or chocolate lover to indulge in such a treat but if you are reading between the lines, you can see the bigger picture here.

You can see this is about creating when life hands us lemons. It’s about doing something you probably don’t stand a chance in succeeding in. It’s starting that really matters. It’s trying when your little engine says you can’t. It’s indulging in life rather than the goodies that make us think they enable us. It’s having self-control when you want to blow. It’s art, it’s your passion, it’s sharing when perhaps you think no one is listening. Because somewhere, up or out there, you will touch someone. You will be the seed that starts it all.

If you want to follow me on this journey through this thing called life, take some time to do a random act of kindness today. Stop by my cupcake page and indulge yourself for a bit. If you like what you see or have been inspired by this read, please vote right here by clicking on My Little Cupcake Short and Sweet! You can also click the cupcake Crown Icon to the right of this post. You can vote everyday until February 13, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Its more than winning to me. It’s sharing, it’s taking a risk, it’s enjoying the adventure even if the lemons are sour and expired. Now get out there and be all you strive to be. You are the only one holding yourself back.