"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, June 29, 2017

That's a wrap

The first few days of this week's swim lessons went so well that I let myself slip back into that "oh, this is such a lovely memory maker" mindset.  I had visions of our last day of lessons being fun & victorious as we wrapped things up with a bang.  Nope.  Eleanor was in a mood.  I was in a mood.  The water was (still) freezing cold.  This morning Eleanor walked down the first two steps and when the water hit her little thighs, she started backing up.  We weren't in the pool 5 minutes before she declared "all done" and pretty well refused to do anything.  Just to be clear, she also signed "all done" over and over.  She didn't even want to climb out of the pool, apparently deciding that the pain of scratching up your arms & legs on the concrete wasn't actually worth it.  When I put her on the side of the pool, she just hung there and refused to even try to climb out.  The instructor bribed her with the promise of a sucker to get her to blow bubbles, to which Eleanor gave one short blow of air in the general direction of the water and then said, "All done.  Sucker."  The next 20 minutes were spent trying to coerce her into doing anything while trying to convince her that the sucker wouldn't come until after the lesson.  You know what happened then?  The instructor forgot to bring the suckers to the little pool we were in.  Try explaining to 10 toddlers that they have to walk across the water park to get their suckers at the life guard station.  Everybody panic! 
I'm glad we've wrapped up this summer's swim lessons.  I am thankful for the few tricks and tips we learned and hope to use those things to help Eleanor along and be ready for another session of lessons next summer. 
Some friends of ours recently bought Saladmaster pots & pans and they lured us into attending a demonstration dinner so they could get a discount.  I didn't mind helping them out, because that's how I bought an absurdly expensive vacuum cleaner that I immediately had buyers remorse over and feel obligated to keep until I die.  All wee I kept asking Drew, "They know we aren't buying anything, right?"  We decided to make it a date night, hired a sitter for Eleanor, and enjoyed an evening with friends.  
 I didn't even know what Saladmaster was, but I can now tell you that they are fancy pots, pans, skillets, bowls, and a food processor that cost more than some vehicles I've owned.  I have issues telling people no, but we had to.  I don't like to hurt anybody's feelings or make anyone feel rejected, so all too often I take those feelings upon myself and do what I can to ease the situation.  That being said, I don't like to feel pressured, and the main way they sell this stuff is to pressure you.  Sorry, dude.  Not happening.  It was really nice stuff and I'm sure it'd be nice to have, but no.  My favorite part of the evening was when he finally told us the prices (and my jaw dropped!) and then he said, "Which one of these packages would you feel most comfortable with?"  I told him that I wasn't comfortable spending that much money, to which he pointed out the "monthly investment" option (AKA financing).  I told him that I don't like to buy something that I can't pay for.  His quip?  "You said you eat out a few times a week.  If you stopped eating out then you could invest that money into these products."  By that point I was annoyed and said, "I see how that line could help you make a sale, but by that same reasoning, I could just stop eating out and save the money."  He didn't have anything else after that.  Aside from having to say no multiple times, it was a fun evening with friends.  We laughed and cut up and enjoyed a nice meal.  We had an extra hour before we had to be home, so Drew & I played a round of mini golf (ask Drew who won) and had a snow cone.  I mean, we could have skipped the snow cones and "invested" that $5 toward pots & pans, but life is short and I like the pots & pans I have. 

 Just another snap shot from our week of swimming.  She's cute, I'll give her that. 
 My squash is doing great this year and I even have one cucumber!  It's my first ever cucumber, and it may be my last.  The plant had so much damage from the cucumber beetles and so I decided to prune it back and remove some of the damage.  That may not have been worth the effort, because the plant is looking pretty pitiful.  We'll see. 
 Julie brought us some leftover wedding cake and Eleanor was quite enthusiastic about it. 
It's hot out today and I guess Mac decided I wasn't letting them inside fast enough, because he jumped through the panels of my garden, crawled under that back side of the fence, and scratched at the front door to be let in.  It is nearly the 4th of July and history tells us that Mac is due for one or more good escapes this time of year.  He and Foose both just sprawled out in the floor to cool off and relax. 

The garden panel has (hopefully) been fixed to keep them in.  They don't stay out much longer than is necessary anyway, and we've planned our holiday weekend plans around being at home with them in the evenings when fireworks are likely to be going off.  Fingers crossed that there won't be any escapes or panicking dog incidents this year. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Move over, Boomer Phelps

Alert!  Alert!  Week 2 of swim lessons is going great!  It's all starting to click for her and now that we've added in something that she's interested in doing (climbing out of the pool), she's more willing to do a bit of the less fun things (blow bubbles)!  Yay! 
Yesterday they started teaching kiddos to hang on to the side of the pool and climb out on their own.  Eleanor LOVES this.  She super duper wants to climb out of the pool and stand on the edge.  She's not crazy about how the concrete scratches up her arms & legs in the process, but it's apparently worth the pain when the end result is standing on the edge and declaring victory.  She can hang on without my help, but she needs a tiny little nudge to get enough leverage to climb out (the pool is 3.5 ft deep, so she can't touch).  She's so close to doing it solo and I'm excited to see her try it again tomorrow.  (I should mention that this pool is filled to the brim.  I'm not sure how she'll do in a pool that has a few inches between the top of the water and the edge of the pool.  We'll have to wait and see.)  She's not actually jumping back into the water, but she thinks she is.  She does a little stationary jump and then I help her jump to me.  She loves splashing back into the pool and is so excited about climbing back out that today she was willing to attempt blowing bubbles, floating on her back, kicking her legs, and reaching & pulling to propel herself to the edge.  Yay for progress!  Also, there's the post lesson sucker.

 
Y'all should see her strut her stuff when the lesson is over.  The walk from the pool to the locker room is a victory parade during which she holds up her sucker like it's a gold medal and uses her other hand to wave goodbye to everyone and everything.  "Bye pool!  Bye water!  Bye ladies! See ya!" 
I made sure to give extra praises for her efforts today.  I don't expect her to be an Olympic swimmer (move over, Boomer Phelps), but I just really love to see her trying new things and putting in the effort to learn.  Watching it come together and click for her makes last week's anti bubble blowing screaming (and the still freezing cold water) worth it. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekend


JR brought Eleanor flowers this weekend.  She was smitten and carried them around all evening.  






 Post church and post Sunday afternoon nap. 



Friday, June 23, 2017

Eleanor

Eleanor is turning into a little girl and each day there's somehow a bit less of the baby left.  I keep making inappropriate jokes to Drew about how he should get me another baby.  He feigns chest pains every time I bring it up.
But really.  You guys.  My girl is beautiful and full of personality.  I can't get enough.



 

There's still some baby in those fingers.  Sweet, dimpled little fingers. 




Fun with my camera and the new flowers. 
  
We reached a new milestone today.  Eleanor played in the yard by herself while I read an entire chapter in a book.  It was a short chapter, but it was a chapter.  She played by herself!!!  When Drew got off work he had to mow, but Eleanor & I were able to relax on the deck while he worked.  Back porch sitting, a Minnie Mouse sippy cup, Sonic tea that I've refilled from home at least twice today, a lunchable for dinner, and a good book.  Summer is awesome. 
 
Side Note: I recently read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and loved it. It's a memoir of her childhood living in poverty with parents who were wanderers.  I would highly recommend it.  I loved her writing style so much that I'm reading her other two books.  I'm currently into Half Broke Horses, a true life novel written about her grandmother's life.   I'm not sure that I ever elaborated on another book I recently read... Hope Heals by Jay & Katherine Wolfe.  It's a true story of severe health issues and very much a testimony of faith & God's healing.  I liked it, but mainly because it hit on some feelings that I felt on our journey with Alex & Emma.  It's hopeful (duh), but it's pretty heavy.  Not a beach read, that's for sure.  I'm a sucker for a good memoir.  If you guys have anything to recommend, let me know! 

Go Outside

I've been dramatic when it comes to telling you all about swim lessons this week, but I have to say that we wrapped week 1 on a good note.  Thursday morning's lesson involved no screaming or crying, so I consider that a win.  Also, sucker.  Winner, winner. 
 We spent yesterday evening in the backyard while Drew added steps and a planter to our new deck.  Eleanor drew on the studs for the steps before he assembled everything. 
 It was HOT and humid, but we had such fun. 



 This morning we went to Lowe's for soil & flowers.  Unnecessarily long pit stop at the slightly scary Mickey Mouse fountain.  Nobody tell her it's for sale.  Please. 
 Just us girls driving the truck today... and taking selfies while they load up our soil. 
 I'm a fan of my big, unruly, curly, frizzy mane.  It's wild & happy and it makes me feel like me :)
 Home with our loot...
Before flowers...
 I had a very specific method for planning this flower bed.  Step one: pick flowers I like.  Step two: try to pick perennials so they'll come back next year.  That's about it, y'all.  I know there are people who spend years in college learning to design landscapes and flower beds, but I'm not that gal.  I just really like pretty flowers and getting my hands dirty.  I'm so super pleased with this modest little planter because it feels like me... wild, unruly, imperfect, and happy (hence the reason for the selfie above). 



 We spent tons of time in the back yard before the deck, but we're enjoying it in a new way now.  I'll have to take a picture this evening, since everything is beautiful at dusk. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Swimming?

I'm not sure Eleanor is going to win any awards from swim lessons this summer.  Perfect attendance, maybe.  It's not quite the idyllic memory maker that I had dreamed up in my head. We're making memories, that's for sure, but they include how cute she is in her Minnie Mouse swim suit and how she HAS to stop and sit on the bench on our way into the aquatic center. 
The memories include her perky little pony tail that keeps her bangs out of her eyes (you know, for when she refuses to put her face in the water to blow bubbles). 
 The memories include excitement over her very first lollipop. 
 Memories?  Yep, we're making them.  I'll remember how she's very loud and clear about how uninterested she is in doing anything on demand.  These girls (and I say girls because they can't be more than 18 years old) that are leading the class are timid & unclear and we aren't really getting much done.  They say, "Okay, now we're going to blow bubbles" and then they walk around the circle for the next 10 minutes as parents blow bubbles in the water and kids alternate between crying or staring blankly.  When they get to Eleanor and ask, "Can I see you blow bubbles in the water?" she screams, "NO!!!" and swats them away.  Those gals don't know what to do.  Gonna work with my toddler?  You'll need to be tougher than that.  Today, after yelling "NO!" and refusing to blow bubbles, the girl told her she could have a pool noodle if she blew bubbles.  Eleanor actually held her arms out for her and the girl didn't know what to do.  She reluctantly took her, but she missed the opportunity to teach Eleanor something in the process.  They're young.  I get that, but I think that next year I will do more research and get her in to a different place.  I hear great things from a friend whose little one is taking lessons at the Jones Center, so maybe we'll look in to that.  Two year olds in that class are learning how to come back up for air when they go under water.  They are learning to hold on to the side of the pool and how to climb out on their own.  We're blowing bubbles and  chasing pool noodles. 
I'm reminded of when Alex (and eventually Emma) first started physical therapy.  The therapists were asking them to do things that weren't easy or comfortable for them and there was resistance.  While part of my momma heart wanted a therapist that was gentle and comforting, the biggest part of me wanted them to have a therapist that was firm, encouraging, and willing to push them just far enough to reach their own potential.  Love on them.  Yes, please.  Love on them, but be firm and effective.  Cheryl.  I wanted Cheryl.  She wasn't (and still isn't!) a softie that was agreeable to doing the bare minimum and letting kiddos get away with not even trying.  Hey Cheryl, if you ever tire of pediatric physical therapy, please come be Eleanor's swim instructor!
Though this class isn't all I hoped it would be, I don't think it's a total waste.  I mean, she really did enjoy the sucker they gave her after today's class :-)
 Other stuff... my garden is growing like crazy.  I discovered cucumber beetles a couple of weeks ago and I'm afraid they have already done too much damage to the cucumber plant.  My understanding is that their real damage comes from bacteria that they introduce to the plant that results in this...
I discovered squash bugs (nasty, mean looking things) this past weekend, so I acted quickly and decided to use Sevin.  Hey, I'm all in favor of less pesticides and chemicals in/on our food, but my tiny little garden has helped me understand how super difficult that is.  I think I've knocked the squash bugs for now, the plants are growing like crazy, and I picked my first zucchini today! 

The tomato plants are doing fairly well.  I have some small fruit growing, but nothing ripe just yet.  (I had to buy tomatoes at the store on Monday and it hurt to give them money for something I know I'll have an abundance of very soon.)  They aren't growing quite a big as they were by this time last year, but I rotated beds this year and they are in the bed that doesn't get quite as much sun.  They are still growing and I think that the shade will help them last longer as the summer heat really takes hold. 

 Weight Watchers.  Apparently you have to do more than pay the membership fee if you want to lose weight.  Rip off, right?  I should have read the fine print.  Ha!  Yeah, I only stuck with it for a week or two and then we sunk back to our old habits.  We're all just doing the best that we can and right now my best is falling off the Weight Watchers wagon.  Know what I've learned from Eleanor's swim lessons?  My daughter doesn't care that I'm not the skinniest or most muscled momma in the pool.  She cares that I'm in the pool.  I'm in the pool, y'all, and that much makes me happy.