... and we're back.
Nope, didn't go anywhere, just enjoying and readjusting to having more stuff (more stuff to clean really and we have no idea where our HHE will fit in this house besides in boxes in the basement), a new mattress too thick for any sheets we've found yet, my UAB, a trip to Kings Dominion courtesy of my mom, and of course swimming swimming swimming on top of Ian's birthday, 4th of July, my birthday, and afternoons at our lake beach. Did I mention that all 4 kids are swimming now? Yeah I thought I had. Today was the first meet for all of them.
Kings Dominion was awesome. The kids didn't go on any huge coasters through no fault of their own. We did a few things everyone could enjoy then moved to the log flume and rapids before going to the water zone. Ian would have enjoyed it and would have insisted on a big scary coaster, too bad he was still in India. He made it back in time for his birthday, we took him out to Famous Dave's where I've discovered they do not have the best ribs in town. They were actually not that good at all, bummer. But who cares this early in our American tour? We have choice and we have the ability to get ourselves there whenever we feel like. Not having a driver is AWESOME. Can't say that enough. AWESOME. When we go out to eat I don't bother asking where the kids want to go but instead what kind of food they want. We have everything and everything is accessible. Yup, awesome. I smile whenever we drive down a broad, windy, tree-lined road with a brilliant blue sky above us.
We've taken some time to just enjoy our new surrounds. Our neighborhood has 2 man-made beaches to go with the man-made lake. During the weekday afternoons there are just enough people to make it fun for the kids but not too many to let me find a shady spot and chill for a few hours. Sweet. We've managed to get together with our Chennai neighbors a few times as well, had them and my parents over for a 4th of July cook-in (don't have a grill yet or deck furniture), plus a few afternoons at the house and beach. It's been a nice. They're in Ecuador and Colorado now, will have a couple weeks back here and then off to Venezuela for their next tour.
We're also trying to enjoy our little house. Like goldfish we'd grown accustomed to our large residences abroad. Now that we have our items from storage and my UAB, the house is full. Not a clue where Ian's UAB or our 7000 pounds of HHE will go. Seriously, not a clue. We have plans to finish the basement into useable space and the couch, recliners, TV, Rock Band will go down there, but that's not until next spring so for now it's all on the main floor. Our living room furniture simply doesn't fit the space at all but at the moment it's not worth investing in all new furniture. Of a more urgent nature is getting the carpet taken out and the wallpaper down. We're checking out bamboo flooring and really just need to make a decision and get it done ASAP. We'd planned on buying paint and choosing flooring tomorrow until I remembered we have a baptism after church. There was no time today with the home meet, lunch out with my mom who came to see the meet (yay!), a quick run through the mall for a gift and then a collapse at home.
Meets are exhausting, and obviously I'm not one swimming. Ian was conscripted into being a time recorder today and we'd donated 196 hot dog buns and 2 cases of Coke. We were far behind on our volunteer hours but have caught up a bit with helping set-up last night, donating food and being a time recorder. It's a way the team keeps costs down, by having family volunteers do loads of the work.
The boys had never been in a swim meet but did, forgive me, swimmingly. OK, Nicholas had a bit of a rough day, disqualified in 4 of his 5 events. When you do butterfly, both hands must touch the wall together and feet must pump together, same with breast stroke. When you do backstroke, you cannot take a stroke on your tummy, even if it's to touch the wall at the end or if you're scared to whack your arm on the wall. He has a killer freestyle. His technique needs some tweaking but the speed is there. His freestyle relay team fizzled on him (2 swimmers had already left the pool?!) but he wanted to swim and one of the 11/12 boys swimmers was missing so Nicholas filled in and kept pace, almost too easily. It was actually a little freaky to watch. Rebecca was awesome in her freestyle as well, keeping pace with her time of 40.46 in the 50m Free. For some reason she was 3rd in the Free Relay instead of anchor, but I'm sure her coaches had a reason for that. She did great in the 100m Individual Medley and won her heat. Katherine swam the 100m IM for her age group and had a bit more trouble with butterfly but did awesome in her preferred stroke, the 50m Breast, coming in 1/3 of a second behind the heat winner. Jonathon won his 25m backstroke heat and came in second in the 25m breast stoke heat. Our family provided nearly 30 points to the overall team total which isn't huge but pretty cool to us.
Next week is an away meet at Lake Ridge, then we see if any of our kids make it to Divisionals the following week. Rebecca really wants to continue with year round swimming with the PWC Amberjax but the cost jumps significantly, and the Stuff requirement jumps as well. The actual practice time drops to only 2-3 hours a week so it wouldn't impact school too much, but we're torn between having her continue to improve and encouraging her to make time to try other things while she has the chance. Decisions decisions.
Before I log off for tonight, and hopefully our connection will continue to hold and we've finally left behind the non-connectivity nonsense, I wanted to say a huge thanks for all the birthday wishes. I turned 35 on Wednesday and life is good, made all the better by wonderful family and friends. It's going to be a great couple of years.
P.S. Remember the heat pump that kept me up at night? It was set on "ON" not "AUTO" Hmph.