Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emily's swimming (vol.2)

Emily has been swimming with Trenton Swim Club (TSC) for almost three years now.  It has been an incredible journey for us, and for those of you that has followed her with us. 

Emily's coach, Nick, has been the high school coach at a local school (Southgate Anderson).  He recently became the head coach at the high school Emily will be attending in a few years ( Gibralter Carlson).  He coaches both teams, TSC and the high school team,  actively and has been great for Emily.  When I told him, last night, that Emily would be on his team if he stuck it out long enough the look on his face was priceless!  He was very excited to know that!  While he was coaching the team last night, he seemed to pay a little bit more attention to Emily's flip turns and starts.  He was on her about a lot of little things, which I was happy to see.  It's almost like he realizes that he needs to correct things now so that she can be at the top of her game in high school. As we left the pool he looked at me and said..."so, I can pretty much count on a State Championship in a few years huh?".  I laughed and said "maybe, you never know!".

I think this could be the start of a great relationship between her and Nick!  Hopefully he will take her where she needs to go, and push her in the way she needs pushed. 

I am attaching three videos of her most recent meet.  There weren't a lot of kids at this one, since it was put together pretty fast and with not a lot of notice.  Never the less, she swam amazing!  While viewing these videos it's hard to believe she is swimming against kids that are almost two years older then her!  Crazy!! :)
No, not crazy....FUN!

Enjoy these videos:  50 breaststroke in medley  50 Fly (notice how perfect her stroke looks.)  50 freestyle (working on her flip turns)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

only child

Most of you that read this know that I am an only child.  It is a very lonely life, let me tell you! 

My parents tried to have children for ten years before I came along.  I guess you could say I was a miracle child, and was called that by my late Grandma Riley.  The fact that I could have been ten years older has crossed my mind many a day.  With all of that being said, it is plain to see why I was sheltered as a child
and semi-spoiled. 

As a child I never really felt like I fit in to any group of friends.  I always felt like I was on the outside looking in.  When we would go camping I had to make friends with whatever kids I could find.  My dad and I would play board games for hours, as well, and so I became pretty close to him.  As a pre-teen, I would bring a friend with me and it made it more fun.  I was teased as a child, as well, because I was quiet and withdrawn.  This didn't help my cause at all!  The only thing I had for me was my music and swimming. 

Fast forward to this part of my life and I still feel alone.  I have grown used to depending on my friends to be my "family".  While in high school I had one girl who was like my sister and one guy who was like my brother.  In fact, that guy would come over and help my folks do things around the house because he knew they didn't have anyone else to help.  That meant an awful lot to me. Now, my girlfriend is so busy with work and her family that we don't see each other.  My guy friend lives an hour away and I never see or talk to him, because of life as well.  In college I had a couple guys that would look after me as if I was their sister.  They stuck up to my roommates for me when I needed it and was always there for me with my back problems.  I knew I could always count on them.  I lost track of them for years and am finally back in touch with them again.  The list goes on and on into my adult life.

As an adult I am faced with the fact that my folks, at some point in my life, will not be here for me anymore.  I honestly dont' know what I will do when that day comes.  Yes, I have a loving husband and two beautiful kids who think I am their sun and moon, but the fact parents have been my whole life.  They are all the family I have.  I only have two cousins, both of which live far away from me.  My mother is also an only child and so my family is very, very small.  That makes the bonds that I form with friends all that more important to me.

Lately, it seems as if I have lost most of the major connections I have made.  Everyone is so busy, and life gets in the way.  I  just wonder if the bonds I have made are as deep as I once thought they were.  Did I make friendships more important then I should have?  I wonder.  There are certain people in my life, right now, who I feel pulling away.  I dont' know why, and it kills me inside.  I have no idea if it is just my imagination or if they even know it's happening.  I just miss certain people so much it hurts.  I have my tried and true friends who are scattered throughout the country, ones that I know will  never turn their back on me.  That just makes it even harder, because they aren't here. 

I keep a lot bottled up inside of me.  All of my ailments, problems you could say...I don't talk about them much.  I do feel sorry for myself once in awhile because I don't feel someone my age should have to deal with some of the things I deal with, such as heart problems, bad knees, weak ankle, asthma, bad eyesight, horrible back problems, allergies and my on going issue with acne.  All of those things have almost brought me to my knees at times, and made me feel hopeless.  I keep trudging and try to keep a smile on my face.  I also try to see the positive in everything because there is so much negative attached to my life.  Lately, there is so much negative around (politically and such) that it is becoming increasingly hard to be positive.  I feel as if I can't breath sometimes, and it doesn't feel as if I have anyone to turn to.

At this point I am just ranting and clearing my head.  I dont' even know if this will make sense to anyone else reading it, but I had to get it down and out of my head.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

sunday sunday

Yesterday Jerry and I made the kids clean around the house.  Emily had to clean her room and the kids bathroom, and Chris had to do the basement and his room.  While they were doing that Jerry and I helped them go through their clothes and pulled out the ones that were too small.  Five bags later, their rooms were pretty clean.  After all that Emily went to a slumber party and Chris went to my parents house so we could have a date night.

Jerry and I decided to go to Longhorn Steakhouse, after trying four other restaurants with huge waits.  We always have had great service and amazing food when we go there, but this time Jerry had a long piece of plastic in his mashed potatoes.  It looked like a white toothpick.  He could have been seriously hurt had he swallowed it.  We told the server who had the manager bring out some new potatoes.  We figured he would comp our meal, or at the very least offer us free dessert.  Boy, were we wrong.  He said he was sorry, told us he knew where it had come from and then walked away.  No free dessert.  No free dinner.  No nothing.  In this economy you would think he would have done something.  From there we went to see The Kings Speech.  Good movie!  At times it was hard to understand the British words but overall Colin Firth did a fantastic job!   

Emily called me twice while she was at the slumber party.  The first time she said she missed me and just wanted to say hi.  It warmed my heart that she was thinking of me while at a party.  The second time was because the girls were telling ghost stories and she was scared.  We worked through that and I thought things were fine.  At 7:15 this morning my phone rang again.  This time she was crying.  She is scared of cats, after one bit her a couple times, and the place she was staying had a cat.  According to Emily she hadn't slept all night because the cat had settled in her sleeping bag and wouldn't get out.  She told me that she slept on the hard floor with no covers and ended up in the bathroom at 3am. She told me she almost fell asleep there and wanted to call me.  When she did call me finally she told me she had locked herself in the bathroom and was trapped by the cat, who was sitting outside the door.  I ended up going and getting her at 7:20am.  In the car ride home I asked her why she didn't just climb in the sleeping bag and sleep with the cat in there.  She told me she did but it was a kitten and every time she moved her feet it would attack her.  I started to chuckle at the image in my head and got yelled at by her. lol.  Oh well.  She slept until 1:30am. (My brain is fuzzy, hence the scattered writing in this entry.)

Now we are settled in for a long, wintry day ahead.  Groceries have been purchased and all is right with the world.  Until the ice comes, that is.

Have a safe and wonderful day everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What's wrong with people?

I haven't felt like writing this week.  I'm not really sure why, but there just didn't seem to be anything pressing to write about. 

Today I went to work, like usual for a Thursday afternoon.  No matter what kind of mood I am in heading in the door my first couple students always make me smile and laugh.  I just can't stay in a bad mood at work, most days.  I have a student who comes from a family of smokers.  She doesn't smoke, and hates it, but has lived with it her entire life.  Within the last few months she has developed a chronic cough.  Every week she comes in it seems worse.  Today she couldn't play a full phrase without having to stop and cough.  (For my non musical friends, a phrase could be about 10 or so notes in a row...or in other words, not very many notes together) To play a full page of music she has to stop at least 5 or 6 times.  I have asked her to go to the doctor and she laughs and says that there is no way her parents would take her to the doc.  I have been after her for awhile to get it checked out.  Well, today I had my chance.  I caught her dad as they were leaving and told him that I thought she should see the doctor.  He laughed at me and told me she was fine.  I insisted that I really felt she needed to see her doctor.  He once again laughed at me and started to pretend to dig a hole.  I looked at him, and said "whatever" and walked away.  I can not believe a parent can't see that their child needs medical help.  I am positive this kid has asthma but no one will help her. 

At what point is it child abuse?  If she was under 18 I would seriously consider calling child services on those parents.  Harsh?  Maybe.  But being a parent has responsibilities and I feel they are neglecting those responsibilities.  That is very frustrating as a teacher!

At least I know I will never do that to my kids!! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day

Today is Valentines Day.  I don't really know if I like the holiday or not.  Part of me thinks it is just a way to sell more candy and flowers, but the other part would love to be shown the most romantic night of my life.  I doubt that will ever happen, since our schedules are so hectic, but a girl can dream can't she? 

Today consisted of weighing it at Weight Watchers (of which I lost 1.6 lbs!), paying bills (yippie) and then the school parties.  I usually hang in Emily's room since there are never any other parents in there.  I showed up a little bit late and Emily told me her friends were starting to miss me.  They love having me in their room for parties.  I take that as a huge compliment, coming from nine year olds!  Whenever I walked into Chris' room I heard a ton of "Mrs. Herman!'s" or "you are Chris' mom".  Pretty cool really.  I love that.

After school Emily asked if we could go get her a new pair of gym shoes.  I guess hers have been tight for awhile now and she just never wanted to ask.  We got in the car and decided to head to Payless.  We usually have really good luck there with finding her shoes.  On the way, we passed a Kohls and decided to try there first.  Nothing.  There were about five different styles...all with sparkles or rainbow colors.  Imagine a rainbow throwing up all over the that you have the image in your head add a whole bottle of sprinkles on top.  Those were the only shoes Kohls had.  We got back in the car and went to Payless.  There were only three styles there in her size, and all of them were the rainbow throw up kind.  ugh.  After a trip to Kmart and Meijer, both with no good results, we ended up at Target.  Finally!  Shoes that were normal!! 

My question is this.....why do stores not carry shoes for girls anymore?  Do they really think that boys need 20 choices, and girls 2 or 3?  I mean, really!  We are talking about girls who LOVE SHOES!  Honestly, it never should have been that difficult to find Emily shoes.  Never!

Oh well.  It was a fun day and now for a relaxing evening at home.  Happy Valentines Day to you! 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spoiling my daughter

So, my daughter received all A's on her report card this last semester.  Actually, she received 2 A+'s, 1 A, and 1 A-.  I am so proud of how hard she works and of all her accomplishments in swimming that I like to spoil her once in awhile. 

Emily has always asked that she get her nails done at V.I.P. Salon and Spa if she gets all A's, so that's what we do.  I set up her appointment for this morning since she had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon.  She picked out a blue polish and a sparkly top coat to go with it.  We then took her to her party.

After the party we had to go pick Chris up from the salon where he was getting his hair cut.  The stylist asked me if Emily was getting hers cut too, so we sat her in the chair.  Emily turned to me and asked if she could get a color stripe in her hair.  After much discussion and debate we agreed on a pink stripe.  It is pretty cool, actually.  It seems to have changed her personality a bit, making her less shy and more outgoing.  I say if color in her hair does that then it was well worth it.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A swimming story

So, my daughter, Emily, is a most of you already know.  She has had a number of swim meets lately and I am just so proud of her.  She turned nine years old in December and that, in turn, bumped her up to a new age level.  This was really hard for her to swallow, since she was taking gold medals at the state level and winning her heats easily as an 8 year old.  Now she was at the bottom of the heap again and had a hard time with that.  I sat her down and told her that this year was not for winning, necessarily, but for bettering her personal best times.  That way, next year when she is 10 she can rule the pool once again.  This seemed to help her a bit and she went to her next meet prepared mentally.  That enabled her to drop her times by huge amounts!!  That day was a turning point for her.  She has gone out and has decided that she wants to win again and is making her races very close!  I am so proud of her!

Now, this past Tuesday, there was a meet at Wyandotte Middle School.  The strokes for the night were Freestyle and Breaststroke.  When her time to swim came for the 50 freestyle she was put in a pretty slow heat.  This made it easy for her to take first in her heat and by a huge margin, as well.  When she got out of the pool, after everyone was done, some girls from the other team came up to her and told her "You suck!".  She told me that her response was to laugh and walk away.  She also told me that she thought it was awesome that they said that.  I asked her why she thought that and her response to me was..." it means I'm great, Mom!  They are just jealous! "  What a fabulous attitude for a 9 year old!  If only I would have had that at her age.  I can't even imagine how far she will go with that amazing attitude!!  The sky is the limit I say!!

Here are the links to her two races.....(you might turn the volume down)  She is the one in the yellow cap.  Yellow cap again.  Teamate is in lane one and she really tried to beat her.  Turns out she thought she was from the other team.  oops. lol  Oh yeah, and that other girl, blake, is almost 11 :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Well, today was very busy....between church, selling girl scout cookies at a local grocery store, my father in laws birthday party and then the Superbowl party.  I am pretty tired.  But I do want to share the highlight of the game...two highlights I suppose.  One in the form of a commercial.....

Best Commercial of the Super Bowl!

And one in the form of an after game interview....

GB Packers Jennings singing the WMU Fight Song!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

What a day!

Today I had the pleasure of judging the solo and ensemble festival in Hartland, Michigan.  I absolutely love to judge young flutists.  There is so much good that can come of a very understanding and patient judge.  I try not to be the kind of judge who is looking for perfection.  I try very hard to be the kind that will give a second chance if need be.  Working with a student after she/he performed is very rewarding, especially when you can see in their eyes the impact you are making on them.  I had a couple parents ask my room chairman for my information so they could look into lessons.  That is a huge compliment!  I just feel so rewarded tonight after a whole day of doing something that I love so much.  I am one of the luckiest people in the world, to be able to do what I love!

The drive home...that is a whole other story!  What a treacherous drive!  While I was judging, snow was flying.  The highways had not had time to be cleared and so they were very slick and impassable.  You had to guess where the lines were and hope for the best.   Everyone was going 15-20 mph, except for the occasional jackass who had the 4 wheel drive and felt they could blow past you.  For the most part everyone seemed to be watching out for others and letting people in as needed.  At times you would be traveling  in some previously made ruts and were ecstatic at that.  Then in the blink of an eye the ruts would be gone and you would quickly feel the car not be completely stable.  Everyone would slow down and start the "game" all over again.  The drive from Hartland should have taken me 1 hour 15 minutes.  It, instead, took me 2 1/2 hours!  I kept thinking of my kids and how devastated they would be if something happened to me.  It made me not worry about how long I took to get home, as long as I did it safely. 

It sure felt good to wrap my arms around those two kids when I got home! 

All in all I think I had a very productive and satisfying day. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Emily's swimming

I know those of you who are reading this have most likely heard me brag about my daughter's swimming.  For some of you, you are not aware of how big a thing this is in our lives.  Emily swims 4-5 days per week.  Almost every school day she is swimming an hour or more, depending on the day. Back in December Emily changed age groups, from 8 and under to 10 and under.  She is nine and was now swimming against kids that are almost 11.  That was huge for her.  She was pulling first places a lot and had finally started to reach the top of the leader boards at the USS meets as well.  Now she is back at the bottom, well sort of the bottom. 

This past weekend, Jan. 29, Emily swam a USS meet in Grosse Pointe Farms.  She had just figured out that what place she takes in a race is not really what matters, but the time she swims does!  She decided to just work on lowering her times for this next year, and since she has decided that she has swam incredibly! 

I am posting two of her events from saturday.  100 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.  These were both very good events for her and she dropped significant time in both!  I am a very proud momma!!

Click here for Emily's 100 Freestyle event

Click here for Emily's breaststroke event