Monday, August 2, 2010

A little local living

Moving to the States, however briefly, means temporarily giving up overseas travel, foregoing meals at many-star hotels and postponing foreign cultural experiences. Over the summer it's felt pretty severely especially while reading friend blogs about all their adventures.

In exchange though we have our times of very standard, very American, living. Driving all over for the week of Civil War camp and Band Camp was one. This past week of fishing at the lake, sending off a friend at the uber-clean and uber-security-driven airport, being enlightened (again) about the craziness of our processed foods, along with the season's final swim meet Saturday morning and a minor league baseball game Saturday evening rounded it out.

Wednesday we went to the lake beach. Armed with a container of worms, a fishing pole and swim suits (but no camera) we spent a few hours without a schedule. Ian had a co-worker's going-away party after work so dinner wasn't even pressing. Having those Wednesdays off during swim season is a wonderful thing. Jonathon fished before joining the others at the beach and there were a couple of early 20-somethings sitting on the little pier who started giving him tips. Catching the little fish was easy, it was when he wanted to use a little fish to catch a big fish they gave out pointers. After several attempts and many reminders that fishing is a sport of patience, Jonathon decided to try one more time before going off to swim. The 20-somethings were off as well. When he came to get another worm skewered the girl looked at me and asked if I was his mom, and then asked how old he was. She was surprised he was "that old" and a little taken aback I had 3 others and all older. The guy with her wasn't, he said he was one of 6 kids. I did tell them my age though, having just turned 36 I don't want anyone thinking I was a 16yo parent.
It doesn't hurt to say 36, but it does surprise me sometimes. Do we ever really feel our age?
Thursday came around, the last day Jacquelyn was spending with us. It rained hard in the early afternoon and all the kids ran outside.
7/29/10 - Playing in the rain. 7/29/10 - Playing in the rain.
We'd spent the morning packing and finishing up laundry and here I was now faced with a stack of soggy clothes and shoes again. *sigh* We'd decided to sleep the night at my parents' house which is closer to the airport, and have my mom sleep at ours. Ian was in class all week so he couldn't stay home Friday to get the kids to the last swim practice before Divisionals. Mom came down Thursday night and brought the kids home from the pool while I took the girls up to mom's house after Becca was done swimming and Jacquelyn had said her good-byes to our family. Slept the night, mom took the kids to morning practice, I took the girls to the airport. Everything ran like clockwork from getting there, checking her in, getting our own security passes so we could sit with her at the gate, the plane left on time after a short but teary farewell, and Rebecca made it to practice with 45 minutes left to swim. Jacquelyn's 3 weeks with us flew by and I hope she had as good a time with us as we had with her.
Saturday morning I was up way before sunrise at 4:45 a.m., we piled in the car for a 40-minute drive to Haymarket and our last meet of the season. This meet had 3 teams: our Frogs, our host Dominion Valley Sharks and the Montclair Seahawks. The weather was gorgeous and that really helped.
Jonathon got set for his 25m Breaststroke. He only made one legal time this season, but that was enough as he was one of two Frogs swimmers in the race. Our little tadpoles have troubles with Breaststroke. His legal time was so slow he was ranked 22/22. Yup, dead last. Obviously, he swam in the first heat out of three.
7/31/10 - Divisionals - J 25 Breast 7/31/10 - Divisionals - J 25 Breast "dive"
7/31/10 - Divisionals - J 25 Breast 7/31/10 - Divisionals - J 25 Breast touch
Take a look at those two photos. See his arms underwater? Perfect! And see that touch at the end? Yay! He won his heat, and cut 11 seconds! Now to work on that dive....
Next up was Rebecca for her 50m Breaststroke.
7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Breast lineup 7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Breast dive 7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Breast
Then Katherine's turn. Katherine is a breaststroker, so she was ranked 8th out of all 33 of the 13/14 girls in the race. With an 8-lane pool, that meant she swam in the last heat with the top swimmers.
7/31/10 - Divisionals - K 50 Breast start 7/31/10 - Divisionals - K 50 Breast dive 7/31/10 - Divisionals - K 50 Breast
She doesn't breathe much during breaststroke or butterfly, so all you get is the top of her head. She came in 5th overall, beating her best time by 1/10th of a second!
Nicholas had 25m Butterfly this time.
7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Fly heat #1 7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Fly psyching up 7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Fly dive
7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Fly #1 7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Fly #2 7/31/10 - Divisionals - N 25 Butterfly touch
Then Becca's turn to do 50m Butterfly.
7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Butterfly dive 7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Butterfly #1 7/31/10 - Divisionals - R 50 Butterfly #2
The meet always ends with Freestyle Relays. Katherine wasn't in any relays this time as each team was allowed only 2 relay teams for each race (usually we have 3) and her Freestyle is far from the strongest. The younger three were in relays but I don't like taking photos of Freestyle or Backstroke, so this is all you get:
7/31/10 - Divisionals - J Free Relay.. uhhhhh. 7/31/10 - Divisionals - J Free Relay "dive" 7/31/10 - Divisionals - J Free Relay
And a parting shot. We're the red tent, and we were near the edge of tent city.
7/31/10 - Divisionals Tent City
The meet ended at 1p.m. and here's how our little family did (without relays).
Event #10 - Boys 8 and under: 25m Freestyle: 30.59 heat winner (seed 33.97)
Event #28 - Boys 8 and under: 25m Backstroke: 32.39 heat winner (seed 37.27) - 5 points PWB
Event #38 - Boys 8 and under: 25m Breaststroke: 49.82 (seed 1:00.78) - 5 points
Event #12 - Boys 9/10: 50 Freestyle: 47.34 (seed 45.94 PWB) - 4 points
Event #30 - Boys 9/10: 50 Backstroke: 1:00.17 (seed 58.63 PWB)
Event #50 - Boys 9/10: 25 Butterfly: 29.78 (seed 30.96) - 6 points
Event #15 - Girls 11/12: 50 Freestyle: 39.10 (seed 38.84 PWB) - 4 points
Event #43 - Girls 11/12: 50 Breaststroke: 57.75 (seed 57.81) - 1 point
Event #53 - Girls 11/12: 50 Butterfly: 48.75 (seed 55.12) - 4 points PWB
Event #17 - Girls 13/14: 50 Freestyle: 37.94 (seed 38.34 PWB) - 5 points
Event #35 - Girls 13/14: 50 Backstroke: DQ turn (seed 51.37)
Event #45 - Girls 13/14: 50 Breaststroke: 46.46 (seed 46.57 PWB) - 14 points, 5th place
Everyone improved in something and everyone earned points for the team. I'd say it was a successful morning and a successful season. As you can see, all the kids made a B time in at least one stroke. I'll put up a compilation of all their races from the season with their best times so we have something to gauge by next year. My mom came to several practices and meets including this one, which really means a lot to all of us. She could see their improvement too.
We spent the afternoon hours recovering at home then went with my mom to a Potomac Nationals game. Her office does all sorts of fun things throughout the year - when we went to Kings Dominion, that was arranged by them. This was a fully paid for outing that included dinner, seats and souvenirs, and only 15 minutes from home. The P-Nats lost to the Frederick Keys and we were exhausted by the fireworks at the end, but it was a great time. If you live in the area and like baseball and all that a minor league has to offer then the P-Nats is the way to go. Season passes are $19.95. Photos coming once my mom sends them over.
We were home around 10:30p.m. so my mom stayed over and went to church with us the following morning. It wasn't until after treating us to lunch at Silver Diner that she made her way back home.
Customarily, the Sunday after Divisionals is the Frogs awards ceremony and end-of-season party and for years they've held it at WaterWorks water park. This year, the party is post-poned:
Waterworks Park Remains Closed After Vandalism
Not. Cool. Ian said the vandalism sounded familiar and found other stories about similar incidents at local parks. Again... Not. Cool.
So the awards are post-poned and today is Monday, the first day of summer break without any swim team or guest or schedule of any sort. We'll clean house a bit, the boys will do their summer packets. Later this week we'll pack for the beach. But for now, bring on the lazy.

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