Friday, May 31, 2013

Swim Team Season

A few nights ago, at the first swim meet of the summer team season, Tim and I were marveling that this is only Clare's third year of swimming. We felt like veterans, as though we have logged many, many hours watching meets. Which we actually have, considering this meet alone took 6 hours of my life. Nevertheless, Clare continues to love it. And this year she has proclaimed, multiple times, that she has buddies! This makes the wait between events much more interesting for her.

Her year-round training has paid off, too, as she swam in the first (fastest) heat of every event and held her own in the two relays she swam. We love seeing her thrive in this environment.

Here's a look back at her during her first meet:

2011, age 8: nervous for her first meet, but so excited!
And last year:

2012, age 9: more experienced, but still eager.
And this year:

2013, age 10: older, wiser, still having fun
Because I think it's impressive, here's a picture of the Georgia Tech pool in its long-course glory - Clare swims laps in this pool for 75 minutes every practice:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

First Splash of Summer

This has been a gloriously beautiful weekend, particularly pleasant coming on the heels of a stifling week in which our upstairs AC broke - just in time for the Francos to bunk with us for a week between their moves. Since Friday, the windows have been open, the sun shining, and frankly I wasn't sure a trip to the pool would be a good call. Clare and Isabella, however, would not be deterred, and as I was the only adult standing in the line of defense (Tim was on a one-day trip, Luis and Deanna were dealing with the movers), I caved. And it was terrific!
After an initial "Brrr!" from the kids, they were off and swimming, diving and sliding for the better part of an hour and a half. Best of all, though: Laura was more than happy to hang in the baby pool with me. Turns out our militant dictator of a toddler has a very cautious side as well. I suspect she will open up soon, and like last summer I will be hauling her up the stairs to the slide dozens of times a day, but I will enjoy the mellow visits while they last.
This trip to the pool culminated a remarkably fun week of having the Francos live with us. (Well, probably more fun for us since we didn't have to deal with the hassles of coordinating a move and cleaning a new-to-them house.) The kids were in sync the entire week, playing endless hours of Legos, American Girl and more, all in between the routine of school and work. Friday night found the four of them in a movie-and-sleepover night in the basement while we grownups enjoyed the glories of the back deck, wine and beautiful weather. This basement thing has really grown on me.
Of course, endless amounts of fun and company can be a bit exhausting. Last night, after Tim and I finished our dinner on the deck, I knew it was time to find Danny and send him off to bed. We had noticed it was very quiet in the house, but I assumed he was playing Legos in the basement. Instead, I finally found him snuggled in the guest bed, as sound asleep as we have ever seen him:
 Sweet dreams and sweet times.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Danny Makes My Mother's Day

A beaming Danny emerged from our carpool's van today waving this note from one of his teachers:

(Just in case you can't read it, I am happy to transcribe: "Liz, What a delightful boy Danny is! He has gone beyond the call of duty today in helpfulness; I love his spunk and joyful attitude. You have certainly raised a marvelous son. Happy Mother's Day, Pokey Gustafson")

Happy Mother's Day, indeed!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Their First Recital

Although Clare has been taking piano for three years now, yesterday was her first piano recital. And although Danny has only been taking piano for about two months now, yesterday was also his first piano recital. Both of them were a combination of nervous and excited. Both of them performed with focused intensity. And both of them made us very proud!

Before the recital, I took the opportunity to take some photos of our pianists, since they were both looking exceptionally nice.

Laura was not going to the recital but staying home with a sitter, which is why she looks like a ragamuffin - but she did not want to be left out of the photo op.
Meanwhile, Danny found a tiny caterpillar that matched his shirt exactly.
Here are the two pianists mid-performance (Danny was second on the program, Clare third from last of 15):
Not too shabby, playing on a Steinway grand...
To celebrate their accomplishments, and to take advantage of our toddler-free evening, we had a very grown-up dinner (and alfresco beverages) at Canoe. Lovely kids, lovely evening!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mama, Don't Let Your Baby Grow Up to Play Football

If I'm honest, Danny probably outgrew his cowboy bedroom a couple of years ago. Being a male, though, he didn't notice/mention/care about his room decor, so I let it ride. I still remember vividly transforming his room into a cowboy and bunk bed haven, because that meant he was finally potty trained.

Time marches on, however, and so does Danny's sports obsession - particularly with football. And hey, Target makes it so darn easy to swap out window valences and bedding. Oh, I should also mention that there is a touch of wolf, too, including a painting by Grammy and a ginormous stuffed version he received for his birthday. (Wolfie is now BFFs with Richard Parker, the life-size tiger previously known as Antonio.)

Watching Danny play with his new samurai fortress last night, I was struck by the fact that he's at a great age right now: young enough to happily play with toys on the floor, old enough to be (relatively) reasonable and independent. Before I know it, he'll be way too cool for me to bring Burger King and his baby sister to school for a birthday lunch, and requesting heaven only knows for his interior design. Frankly, I hope he's moved beyond football by then, but I am learning not to plan too far ahead and enjoy this time when he still believes he can grow up to be anything he wants.