Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer Days

Other than bemoaning our lack of outdoor living, we've been trying to keep busy this summer. We knew we wouldn't be traveling, as a surgery spot might open up, but we adventured near by as much as possible.

The kids went to a few camps. Morrigan went to an acting camp, a 4-H camp, and, naturally, Trefoil (Harry Potter themed camp.) Maggie went to Trefoil and a tubing and whitewater rafting camp. Eion still has no interest in sleep away camp, but he did go to a minecraft day camp.

Kevin Jones Performing Arts Camp. The production at the end of the week was Spamalot - hilarious!




Trefoil - described as the best week, other than Christmas, of the year.




Maggie is off this week to tubing and whitewater rafting camp!


My friend Melanie turned 40 and had an awesome surprise birthday party, where she was truly surprised!


We rented a boat one day and spent some time at Smith Mountain Lake.



We spent a weekend at the beautiful Snowshoe with our friend Webb.





Spent a morning tubing on the James river.



And it isn't summer without swim team!



We were fortunate that Maggie "aged up" and our City County swim meet time was in the afternoon! Much preferred to the morning session.

It's hard to believe there are only a few weeks left until school starts. Summer is winding down, but all the school activities are just getting started.

I Know What You Did This Summer, The Deck Edition

"Not even a freaking swim meet Monday update?" you say? Well let's catch up on all the excitement of Chez McK!

The Deck

The deck was old when we bought our house almost 12 years ago. In the time since, it most definitely has not improved. Witness the dank.



And the dank is not the worst part, when you look at the unsafe and dangerous. 



We'd been kicking around replacing it and had put it off for about a year, mainly due to the astronomical cost of replacement. (If you know me well enough to ask, I will tell you but otherwise, just know it is more than you can imagine.)

We finally bit the bullet and started the project, stop one being the removal of said shitty deck.


Watch your step!

The lack of outdoor living space has been challenging, especially considering we don't really have a useful yard. We had a few garage parties while Tim's Mom & Dad were here! #hillbilly4thofJuly



But soon thereafter, construction began. Here are some photos of the progress up until today.

The builder said this was the first job they had to include a "chicken clause." Basically we have to keep the girls in the run during the day and they can come out when the work is done. The crew is nice enough to let them out at the end of the day.


The old coop was destroyed, being in the path of progress. You can see the roof of the new one here.




We added a walkway from the driveway so people don't have to enter through the garage to get to the deck.






We still have a few weeks left but we're moving right along!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And It's Monday!

Don't complain about swimming being my only topic. It means I'll at least check in once a week! But truly, last week was much the same as the week before - Morrigan clocked lots of time at the YMCA, I logged some hours at work, and everyone else was scheduled around us!

We did fit in a few playdates for Eion with some of his new friends from this year.

And in this week's swim meet adventures, it was the much dreaded 100 free and 50 fly, Maggie's two least favorite events. Tim was working and the other children opted to stay home so it was just the two of us, and the 400 other swimmers. My performance the week before has garnered me a permanent position as clerk of course. It was a billion degrees and it was a huge meet but the time went fast!

As did Maggie, dropping time in both events, including 4 seconds on the butterfly.




She was cracking me up yesterday. She went to morning practice. Then when I took Morrigan for her 3 hours at the Y, Mags joined her so she could get another 45 minutes of swimming in. 

Okay.

Now we're off to today's exercise session!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Return of Swim Meet Monday, on a Tuesday

Monday this week was filled with thunder and rain, so the swim met was moved to Tuesday. This was our first meet at the new Club, where the mascot is the Hound Dogs, hence the (temporary) tattoo.


They must buy them in bulk, as all the kids had them in a large variety of locations. 

The person who ran Clerk of Course had "retired," and they needed a replacement. [Editor's Note: Clerk of Course determines who will be in what lanes in each heat.] Sadly, I was determined to be a competent volunteer. It is one heck of a job and keeps you busy though, making the night fly by!

I did get to see Maggie race. She has "aged up" and the time standard are higher than last year. But she placed 5th silver in backstroke and 4th silver in freestyle, cutting time on both. And making her happy.



Which is good to remember today as she is strikingly less happy, having gotten braces yesterday, which hurt tons. We're hoping she's back to her smiling old self soon!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Welcome to the A-Typical Summer or The New Normal

Summers for many of the past years had a familiar, wonderful pattern. School would get out and, a few camps aside, we became fixtures at the pool. Alas, no more. Last week's marginal weather didn't help, but we are beset with complications and are having the weirdest of summers.

Y-Fit started for Morrigan and amounts to a part time job. She has to log her 50 hours at the YMCA in 41 days. In addition, she has certain classes she must attend, dictating strange and often inconvenient times she needs to be there. It has really wreaked havoc on our schedule. To her credit, she has been happy and upbeat, not really complaining. Well, a bit about soreness, but when one embarks on a 3 hours a day fitness program, it's to be expected. She's well on track to finish on time, escaping the dreaded PE.

I also started a new job at our local zoo. Your looking at, reading anyway, the new Assistant to the Executive Director! My boss has been very accommodating to my insane summer calendar. And fortunately, I can connect to many files from home and have been able to work on some projects off-site as well. They have a fundraiser coming up at the end of the summer that I'm working on as well. So far, it seems like a good fit and I'm really enjoying doing something new.

The job, however, is one more layer of complication, though a happy one!

Tonight we're off to the first swim meet of the summer, providing it doesn't get rained out. Was looking forward, on the new team, to taking a slightly smaller role in the meets. In a cruel turn of fate, all the people who ran clerk of course (arranging all the swimmers in heats) have moved on and Morrigan and I were tapped to take it over. Of well, working hard all night makes it go fast!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

From The Files Of "You've Got To Be Kidding Me," I Now Have A High Schooler



Yesterday was the 8th grade graduation ceremony, which one might be tempted to blow off, but as my 8th grade music teacher told us, "For some of you, this might be your last graduation."

We went, naturally.



The ceremony itself was a wee bit boring. Listing the accomplishments of 200 kids, many of whom  were unknown to us, can be a time consuming task. Though hearing that Morrigan had pulled her Spanish grade up two full letter grades to make the all "A" honor roll was lovely.


We made the whole family go, which I wasn't sure was the right play, until Maggie started listing off the credits she planned to have after her name in two years. Lit a fire that ceremony did.


And no matter how much high school scares us, this sweet girl is headed there after the summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Poetry, It's Also All About The Chickens

We're at the end of the year and desk cleaning out at school has begun in earnest. Eion, happy to be done with school, perhaps the happiest, has a decidedly slash and burn attitude, eagerly dumping reams of paper in the recycling.

But he wanted me to keep the poems he wrote. When I looked through them, there clearly was a theme.

Chicken Food
I get a hamburger to throw down
The hamburger flies down the deck
James fights everyone else here
They are gulping it down
You must fight for it
Going away
Very small
Almost
Gone

And then there's...

I Am A Chicken
I am a chicken
White as a cloud
I eat almost anything
I am fast
I can lay eggs
I can be loud
I am a chicken

And one more....

If hope could be a color
it would be blue
as blue as the heavens

If hope could be a taste
it would taste just like chocolate

If hope could be a smell
it would be the beach

If hope could be a sound
it would be screams of joy

If hope could be a feeling
it would be happiness
[Editors note: I thought hope was a feeling. I am confused.]

If hope could be an animal
it would be a chicken


Clearly, one day when he is famous, this will be known as the poultry period.