Turn Around and Swim

Life | Lessons | Laughter | Love


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Cloudy with a Chance of Meeting at 3:00am

Lately it’s been hectic and heavy on the schedule. Basketball games and tournaments and recreating George Washington. 100 days of school and turning 7 year olds into 100 years old by the break of dawn. Valentine’s Day crafts and treats and cards and boxes and bags and did I mention basketball?

So when you are the third ranking child, that little thing called a bedtime routine gets a little out of whack. If even existsent at all.  So my little Peeno has had a hard time winding down post basketball. While big brother struts his stuff on the court, Peeno goes from building a Lego masterpiece under the bleachers, to riding on a team mascot’s back during halftime to talking smack in an unofficial basketball match with high schoolers on the adjacent practice court.  See, where most siblings of the players range from 13 and up, I still have one of the younger ones. 

And he goes and goes and goes like it’s nobody’s business. And everyone sits atop their cushy pillow in the bleacher stands reminding me how “he is gonna pass right out!”  Uh, they have no idea. It’s like a sick, twisted game of reverse psychology. The little $h*t doesn’t wind down. He winds up. And up and up. 

You know that runner’s high or release of serotonin after a really, really good work out?  Well this kid mass produces that sh*t. 

So, bedtime has become again, a challenge. I’m sort of embracing it though because it will be short lived. In a year or so, it won’t be this way. And I know my heart will cry out for these moments. Moments of having to use the bathroom again, maybe. Needing just one more little, itty bitty sip of water. The radio song is “creeping me out”. Needing one more good, teeny little story. And “just one more song you sing but not that doe a dear one again and can you find out the real words mommy to hush little baby….”

Because he apparently knows that if that diamond ring won’t shine, mommy is gonna crack open a bottle of wine is just me hitting survival mode and not the way the lullayabe really goes. 

And then the Three Little Bears fairytale steals the scene with somebody’s been sleeping again in my bed BS. And this bed just feels too icky. And can I have 18 more pillows and Jingle and Fury are all f’ed up. Oh and snakey. Gosh forbid we don’t have the $38.00 hook a fish carnival gem we scored. Let’s find snakey! You plush, stinky little neon thing you. 

And then when it’s almost all over and almost all said and done and I snuggled just 5 more minutes, he leans into me and says, “mommy there is a 100% chance I will see you in your bed tonight at about 3:00 am. I love you more than anything mommy, but I love God, Jesus and Mary just a crumb more than you. You can go now mommy, I’m sleepy!”

And the Energizer Bunny powers down leaving me with a forecast outlook to 3:00am. Goodnight sweetheart

These days aren’t forever. I know that. And someday I will want them back tenfold. And even when his little a$$ comes crawling into my bed at 3:00am giving me liver kicks until 5:00am, I will love him more than anything…like he makes me promise him every night! 100 times over. I hope he always knows, I will be his mommy forever! All the days of our lives! He can always fall asleep counting on that because sheep don’t work folks! 

What’s your little babes bedtime ritual? Can  you appreciate my new twist on hush little baby? I think it’s a solid tune! Ba. Ba. Ba. 100 Sheep to go……………….


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An Open Letter to the Youth Football Commisioner

  
Dear Mr. Youth Football Commisioner:

As you know my son has been playing tackle football through this organization since 5th grade. Prior to his commitment to this organization he played in various flag football leagues. Yet, although he had fun, he was missing something. We were missing something.

When he left K School and began his journey as a middle school student at SAS, football through this organization was the start of what would be his evolution. It wasn’t walking into a faith based community and sharpening his pencil. It wasn’t saying the morning prayer prior to announcements. It wasn’t tossing the football at recess in a school uniform.

Although all intricate to shaping his character, It was taking a knee the very first practice surrounded by parents, teachers, faculty, coaches and Parish priests in blue and gold with a Lions helmet next to him. It was holding his head up high when he made his first tackle. It was being high fived by a coach. It was sweat, sore muscles and prayer. It was knowing that mediocracy doesn’t make it happen. It was knowing that at the end of practice, that walk up the hill would be greeted by parents, other players, coaches and me, his mom. It was the glow he had when he got into the car.
  

Whatever happens on that practice field and before a game. What ever goes on in those huddles, pep talks and post game gatherings has made my son who he is today and the man I know he’ll become. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you are part of my village.

The game of football has taught both of us alot about life. Sometimes more than any other event or journey we have witnessed. Football to him is everything. Everything that sets the tone for his academic success. The tone that wants him to continue a Catholic education into High School. The tone that makes things possible for us at home.

His younger brother just started playing with the organization and I notice how he watches his big brother so closely. How my youngest who is just 5 cannot wait to put on a helmet and proudly wear his Gold and Blue. How our Lions gear sporting our family name and my son’s number is our first go to piece of clothing on a chilly day or night.
 

Everything happens for a reason and he has always been so self confident about his height and weight. I have always told him God gives us what we need and that small can mean mighty. So we sincerely hope he will still suit up everyday in blue and gold and run down that hill to meet his teammates on the practice field. That every Sunday after Church we will be heading off to play ball.

I know that injuries can happen anywhere to anyone. I have put my faith into God that he will watch over my son, while he is out there on the field. I know he is in good hands with all of you. I know you all have an interest in his safety. With that being said, he is an asset to this organization, not a liability. More importantly, he is part of something grand where small things lead to big moments. It’s in these moments, my little boy transforms into a young adult.

Please accept this letter as my approval to have him be a part of this team despite his weight. We sincerely hope we can continue on this journey that began Aug 1 and hopefully will go into the playoffs and beyond. Thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,

No Weight Limit Needed  

 


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Rock a Bye My Baby

I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.

During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.

It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.

You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.

7585_10151333929577031_183119441_n[1]You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.

Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.

Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.

I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.

But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.

Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!

539746_4672238565578_485366123_n[1]“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.”
– Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running


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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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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that says FUTURE TENSE.

Future Tense

Future Tense

The start of a toddlers day involves chocolate milk, changing out of a pull-up and watching Blues Clues.  It’s the little things in the mind of a three-year old that gets their day off to the right start.

Then one day my little Peeno just gazed out the window.  As he was watching the neighbors head off to work and his older brothers leaving on the bus he turned to me and said, “One day mommy I will be like them.”  Then he went back to making sound effects of Thomas while he drove his train along the windowsill. 

One day my little man, one day. 

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln


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If You Blog It, They Will Come

Happy One-Year Blogging Anniversary

Happy One-Year Blogging Anniversary

One year ago today I sat down with my laptop and a cup of coffee and started a blog. thCAJ0BXJ1I titled it Turn Around and Swim. I came up with the name when earlier that week I bought a journal. As part of my New Year’s resolutions for 2012 I was going to write an entry each week. I wanted a way to keep track of my life story; The chaotic fun in raising three boys and finding a balance between working mom and business owner all while being all in for my kids, family and friend’s adventures.

But writing would only give me finger cramps and my chicken scratch would not be legible in my senior years. Further, who would hold me accountable?

Until one day when I was in the shower, my kids were banging on the glass doors for me to hurry, and then it all came to me. I am sure it was an emergency because one was about to die because he needed chocolate milk, one was about to blow up the joint and the other accidentally wrote on the walls with a Sharpie. I couldn’t see because of the lavender and chamomile shower gel that was oozing from my eyes and when I opened my mouth to patiently converse to them yell out to go play, I swallowed a giant gulp of water. I started choking and I mean like really choking.

All I could think about is how I was going to go down as the girl who drowned in a shower smelling of lavender and chamomile while her three little boys burnt down the house. That is when I knew I had to either drown or turn around and swim. So here we are 365 days later. This past year I have written and published 71 posts. I have 100+ blog followers and a quarter of that in email followers.

Some of you followed me by way of this blogosphere, some of you realized I was Swimgirl on Facebook, some were coerced by me or your co-workers and some of you did a Google search and accidentally landed here. Many of you questioned why I would put myself out there like this. Some of you didn’t understand. Yet, others loved my blog instantly. I have found that my most loved by you posts include my original photographs, when I keep it real and make you laugh.

photo1.jpg

I have been nominated for two blog awards and I thank Multifarious Meanderings for nominating me for both. She is always there to comment on my posts and offer insight with her witty gestures and humor.blog-award[1] sunshine-award1[1]

I began following a lot of travel and photography blogs but soon got sidetracked by any blog with caffeine in it. What’s not to love about a blog with coffee in its name? I have never been Freshly Pressed and one day I may be granted this honorary mention, but until then, we celebrate.

We celebrate one year of blogging. I would make you all cupcakes but I am sure we are over all that by now. Yet, thank you to all those who voted for my little cupcake at www.celebrations.com as well. Even though I didn’t win over there, I am WINNING here because of all of you. I celebrate with you, all my loyal followers and virtual buddies. I thank you for following me, liking my posts and commenting.

So with one year anniversary celebrations, it does not go without mention, what I learned from blogging:

1) Get to know you readers. They may not like, comment or read every post but know what keeps them following you.

2) Be involved. Visit other blogs. Engage. Share. Like.

3) Treat other bloggers the way you would want to be treated. This applies on and off the blog turf. If you wouldn’t want anyone bashing your blog or post, don’t do it to others. If you want people to engage and comment, then do the same for them.

4) Just because you don’t get a gazillion followers or a million likes per post does not mean your blog is a nothing. Keep writing, keep sharing and your story will unfold. You will attract readers. Never give up. Persistency is the key.

5) Have a good About Page because people will want to know a little bit about the blog’s creator(s) and overall theme before they join in and follow you. They might like a post but not your overall blog content. Your self-disclosure is just laying the truth about your blog out there to the readers. Honesty is “typically” the best policy.

6) Many of you probably think I am a blond girl who loves to swim. I have brown hair and I am not that great of a swimmer. (I mean remember, I did almost drown in a shower). So, I think for this coming year I will include a few self-portraits of the Gravatar in front of the real person you are getting to know here. Stay tuned.

7) Visit the Freshly Pressed posts often because you can really find some awesome blogs you normally would not have ventured to read. Perhaps some day, I too will be featured on that page with all of you wonderful and creative writers.

8) Check out your Stats. You will get a good laugh as to how people find your blog via search terms. These were the top five ways people found TAS via Web searches:

a. Giant Weeble Wobble
b. Zen Moments
c. How To Swim to Atlantic Ocean
d. Suzy Fashit
e. Swimgirl Throwing Things

Now that should give you some serious insight as to what this blog is all about. Thank goodness for Google, right?

9) Have consistent content but don’t be afraid to change it up every now and then. Sometimes I am afraid to have a potty mouth or show that parenting can be similar to being in the vortex of a F-5 Tornado. Sounds pretty basic huh? It’s all in good humor!

10) This is my blog first and foremost. It is my story. I write it as it happens and unfolds. I’m keeping it real so if you get nervous sometimes than strap on your life-preserver.

Thank you, for a wonderful year! I am delighted you are all following me and if you just joined us then what in the world are you waiting for? I mean if you want to figure out How to Swim to the Atlantic Ocean with Suzy Fashit while a Swimgirl is Throwing Things at you while you bob and weave like a Giant Weeble Wobble to get to your Zen Moment, then you are in the right place. Click the follow button and come for a swim. Oh and just remember…

“You Can’t get Anywhere Doing the Backfloat, You Have To Turn Around and Swim!”TAS

Much love, humor and sometimes chaotic bull$hit,

Swimgirl


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

"At the end of the day, it isn't where I came from.  Maybe home is somewhere I'm going and never have been before." - Warsan Shire

“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” – Warsan Shire

They crouched down on the snow-white ground and peered into someone’s home.  My little boys wondering what tiny, fury animal makes his way in and out of this hole each and every day.  The place spiders, squirrels, insects and chipmunks shield themselves from cold winter nights and hot summer days.  In the tree’s crevice these little critters hide from stronger beasts.  The place they call home.

I often think about the boys and where we live.  The place we leave from and return each day.  The place I call home.  The place where I have watched them take their first steps, eat their first foods, ride their bikes without training wheels and make off from, onto a school bus.  The place where we planted trees and watch our wild flowers grow.  The place where we run through sprinklers and chase fireflies at night.  This place we call home.

Yet, these are moments that define our home.  The moments can travel with us to any place we set up our temporary camp.  We cannot define our love for each other by the brick and mortar that surrounds us every night.  Real home is living in the moment and building experiences.  Home is where the heart is and it does not stop when encased by a layer of wood, brick or glass.  Home is not a place, but a moment. 

For the protection of the tree only shields and contains us, it doesn’t define us.

– Swimgirl