Our Daily (G)races

Training to be the best wife, mom, runner, and person I can be each and every day....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Did I miss something....

So on Friday Emma dropped a bomb on me and I am pretty sure I would have wrecked the car if I hadn't been in the driveway.  No, she wasn't in trouble or anything like that, but I did not expect the words to come out of her mouth AT ALL! 

To fully appreciate my shock let me share a timeline...

In May Emma switched to AIM Gymnastics.  Her choice.

In June Emma went to and loved LSU gymanstics camp.

In June Emma spent 16 hours at New Bern Gymnastics while were in in NC.  That meant 2 hours driving to the gym four days of our trip.  It is a big deal to work out with strange girls and coaches.

In July she broke her finger.  It went something like this.  "You should have brought her in sooner.  It might need surgery."  "That is a very interesting break."  "The chip has moved into her joint space so it still might need surgery."  That was just all great....NOT!

In July she decided to miss two weeks of our second summer trip because she wanted to work on her skills and prove to her coaches that she would be ready for her season.

On August 19th she was finally cleared for full practice.  Her finger did not need surgery which we did learn on 8/5.  Yay!  She seemed really happy about this news.

On August 27th she finally, finally, finally did her flyaway dismount on the uneven bars.

On August 28th she said she was quitting.

Knock me over with a feather!  She was crying so hard so could hardly explain to me why.  Drew's eye's have almost never been so wide when I told him what was happening.  There were several reasons for her decision which she had apparently been thinking about for weeks.  What????  I really felt like it was just the stress of returning to school and adjusting to a really busy, full schedule.  She absolutely refused to listen to anything I said or Drew said.  Totally frustrating.

Finally Drew said she had to go and talk with her coaches.  That was all my fault....okay why?  She went, they all talked, and she felt better.

When all this happened on Friday I was just floored.  Never did I expect this so what did I miss?  I mean really!  We spend lots of time together in the car talking.  She talks some to me at bedtime.  We texted or talked everyday lots when I was gone and she was here.  I was so confused and really worried about what I missed.  If I missed something this big in her life I was really concerned for the future.  That may be a crazy leap, but that is where my mom brain went.  I asked on FB for prayers for us and I received 34 wonderful comments.  I also received many texts throughout the weekend.  I appreciated everything so much.  For me I just needed encouraging words to give me emotional strength to get through this mess with Emma.

I was worried about what I missed and I was really concerned about Emma feeling it was okay to quit when life/something becomes challenging.  That for me is not an acceptable habit to create.  She made a commitment and I wanted her to see it to the end. I know that Emma won't compete much longer, but doing level 5 was her own personal goal.  I didn't want her to regret quitting two weeks before the first meet.  I was also worried I pushed her too hard.  Did she miss too much this summer despite making those choices on her own?  Did I push too hard for her to get her flyaway?  Doubts, doubts, and more doubts. So all those comments and texts were really encouraging for me and Drew.  Thank you!!!!

Emma has decided to stick it out this season.  I couldn't be happier for her. I really feel like she will be happy come November knowing she met her goal.  Emma told Drew she knew I wasn't proud of her decision to quit.  She was right because I wasn't, but I am seriously hardcore praying she is competing for her and not for anyone else!  This will probably be the end for her and I want it to be great. 

And, just to make this post a little lighter some fun pictures from our weekend which were a great distraction among the mess of Emma's bomb!

Elena and Drew went to a Sock Hop dance on Friday night with her friend Carmendy and her dad.  They had a blast.  It was so much fun getting her dressed!

 We all went out to dinner Saturday night to a food truck park.  So fun and everyone could eat a crazy variety of food! 

Finally, this stud tore up the football field this weekend.  He played three games and had a great time.  I love that he runs onto the field shouting "let's do this!"  So fun!  He is on a well rounded team and it is fun to watch the games.  Samuel has improved so much.  Can't wait to watch the rest of summer and then winter ball!
His second game ball in 4 games!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Those Tirch's....

The best thing....and the only thing....good about leaving Eagle Camp is knowing we are stopping in 9 hours in Mars, PA.  Mars wouldn't normally be a big attraction, but it is for us.  Our friends the Tirchs live there!  Susan is one of my favorite people and I am so thankful I stumbled upon her blog and that George was wearing a PSU shirt. 

So, we arrived at their house mid Saturday afternoon for a quick visit that was jammed packed.  The kids have only met once and that was last summer.  But, Elena talks about Ella frequently and Samuel does the same about Jack.  They way the kids reconnected and played is awesome.  You would think they were "we see you all the time" kind of friends.  Hopefully they will be friends for life and always feel connected. 

Susan and I are running the Philly Marathon in November together.  So, even though we both started training separately a few weeks ago we did get to run together on Sunday morning.  Kind of fun considering we live 20+ hours from one another.  After our run, we showered quickly and left to tour the new Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility.  It is super close to their house and it was grand opening weekend.  The facility is amazing.  As much as I hate to be hurt, it would be a great place to rehab....super cool equipment! After the tour we all ice skated.  I had many giggles about this prior to arriving because my kids don't know how to skate.  Emma and Jonah have skated one time over two years ago.  I knew it would be interesting, but Susan assured me that her professional skating family would help and they did. 

Mario Lemieux
locker room
meeting room
Emma, Jonah, Ella, Elena, Nicholas, Jack, and Samuel

We took a family picture at center ice.  My hair is horrible.  It air dried on the ice and just wow so excuse it!  The kids did pretty well.  Emma caught on pretty quickly.  Jonah was determined and improved.  Samuel and Elena struggled the most, but they enjoyed it.  Drew and I both skated growing up so we had fun.  It is definitely something we should do here in the winter.

After ice skating we went to Lake Latonka for some grilling, visiting, and boating.  It was a beautiful day and so fun to be outside in the sunshine after our rainy camp week.  The kids tubed and swam.  The lake was really busy, but it was still a super fun day.  Susan's mom lives on the lake and has a golf cart.  I think all the kids could have spent all day driving it around the property.  Happy kids...

Drew had to fly home Sunday night because of a business trip. That was no fun for him, but we continued to have some fun before we left to drive home.  Susan and I live crazy busy lives....who doesn't?  So, filling a short time with so many activities felt normal.  Doesn't everyone want to spend the day at an amusement park before driving eight hours? Sure, why not so that's what we did!  Monday we went to Kennywood and it was a definite highlight of the summer for my kiddos!

The Black Widow was the first ride enjoyed by some!  George and I spent time chatting while Susan is an adrenaline junky and goes on all the crazy rides.  Elena did more watching than she would like, but next year she should be tall enough to ride just about everything.  Even with the waiting Elena had a great day and did go on two big girl roller coasters. Susan and Ella were her favorite riding partners!

It was really hot so this was the perfect ride.  The Pittsburgh Plunge soaked all the kids once and the boys twice!

Lunch was super healthy as we all indulged in the famous cheese fries with bacon.  So good!

It is pretty crazy to think that Susan and I met through her blog. I definitely consider her a good friend and wish all the time we lived closer. It is even crazier to think that she wants us to invade her house each summer even if it is only for two days.  I couldn't be more thankful for our friendship and her and George's kindness to us!  We do pack a bunch of crazy, but I think our family's fit pretty well!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School---2015-2016 edition

Another school year began this morning. To celebrate the end of summer and to complete another summer bucket list item we had a fancy dessert last night.  The kids picked a trifle and it was delicious.  We had a really light dinner so everyone could be very glutinous and eat as much dessert as they pleased.  We ate the entire trifle last night!
Everything was homemade except the angel food cake
Everyone went to sleep easily last night obeying bedtime for what I hope will be many nights to come.  Then this morning four little and not so little faces greeted me as I woke them.  Elena was definitely the most excited to get going and to ride that bus! 

Elena, Samuel, and Jonah will all be at Haude Elementary this year.   They were all excited about their teachers.  Elena was the only one excited to ride the bus.  That will probably change!  It was 40 minutes late this morning and I really hope that changes quickly!

Elena said the best things about her day were the monkey bars at recess, meeting new friends, reading books, and going to art.  I think she had a successful first day.  She has talked about it almost non-stop since I picked her up after school.

Samuel liked recess, lunch, math, science, but he did not like music.  Apparently he does not like to sing!  He was smiling almost this big at the end of the day!

Jonah said he had a good day.  He likes his teacher and is excited to go to his switch class tomorrow.  He was happy to have lots of friends in his class.  He never shares too much, but he was smiling so it was a good day!

Emma is at Strack Intermediate again this year.  Lucky girl does not have to leave for school until 8:30 where as the other three leave at 7:30.  Emma was the least talkative about her day which was no surprise.  She was happy not to have homework today and is trying to decide if she wants to try out for regional orchestra.  She was bummed that none of her classes were with her BFF Ashlynn.  She very much liked leaving school one hour early!

These four kids have been attached to my side for years.  It was strange to see them all off this morning.  It was even stranger not to pick up Elena at the ECLP at 2:30.  I kept looking at my watch so I wouldn't be late and it didn't even matter! I know they are well prepared for the year and will do well.  I wasn't sad...even with Elena starting Kindergarten.  I was happy they were all happy and thankful they like school.  What's not to be happy about when they smile like this or are just so silly!

We are excited for school!
But we are still a little sleepy!
Her sleepy pose
Emma got up and dressed in time for a group picture

Can't wait to see the journey my kiddos take this year.....

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Eagle Camp 2015

Eagle Camp always means the end of summer for me for the most part.  That was especially true this year as camp was a week later than usual.  Thank goodness no matter the weather it is a great place to spend time.  Time with family and friends on a beautiful late in a peaceful and never changing camp is a gift. 

We arrived on Saturday way earlier than normal because of a different travel plan this year.  I loved it and I think it might be our plan for future years.  The kids and I met Drew and Emma in Albany which is less than three hours from camp.  We usually have an 8-9 hour drive that day.  We took the day to leisurely travel to camp and do some exploring in the Adirondacks (here).  Arriving at camp at 3pm was great!  It felt like we had the entire day yet to play and prepare for the week.

Ferry ride to camp
 The first night at camp is always a marshmallow roast at the lower beach.  This year the sunset was truly beyond words.  It was a beautiful way to start our week!

My fishing boys

Unfortunately for us the weather was not in our favor for too much of the week.  It rained way too much for my liking and camp was just a little too muddy.  The rain doesn't really stop the kiddos because they will play in anything.  It just gave me a reason to cuddle under a blanket and read.  That was awesome, but I would have much rather been enjoying the outside.

Way too many skies like this
We were headed to the lake when it started pouring so Samuel played in the rain behind our cabin.
Jonah doing a little puddle jumping
This group took a bide ride that began with sun and ended in pouring rain
Hayden and Samuel were muddy messes after the ride
I was pretty sick of my raincoat by Friday
When the sun did shine we took full advantage by playing and playing hard.  Drew and I feel like we rarely see our kiddos because they play so much with their cousins.  It is the perfect safe place to wander and enjoy.  Elena went to school each morning which she loved.  The boys played with cousins and friends.  We competed poorly in the tournaments, but had fun doing it!  Drew and I visited, played games, rode bikes, exercised, went on walks, played tennis, or ran.  There is never a shortage of activity.  Drew and I hadn't played tennis in years and it was a blast.  We need to do it more often.  I was finally healthy enough to participate in the morning exercise class taught by Drew's sister Greta or his cousins Gretchen and/or Erica.  I loved that!  Running was finally something I could do again and that was a true highlight for me.  The shores of Lake Champlain are my favorite place to run.  Drew took the boys sailing, fishing, and kayaking on several occasions.

Emma loved having Alice at camp....Uncle Mark's niece
I did not run up sunset hill this year.  It takes more than my hadn't been running all summer legs had in them, but Drew and I did walk to the top so we could enjoy the view.  I tackled many more gradual hills, but this is a killer. 

Sassy 5 year olds Lauren and Elena
College roommates and friends for 20+ years!  Crazy that Erica just happens to be Drew's cousin too!
We took our annual camp pictures.  I love seeing how they change from year to year.  We did miss Lara and family who had to stay home because school had started.  So, no big Mann family picture this year.
Hetty!  It was her 30th year at camp!

Leaving is never easy because it is way too long until we see Drew's family again.  We were "wa widi'd" this year at Friday night ice cream since we left so early on Saturday.  That stunk, but it made Saturday morning a little less emotional for us all. 

All the cousins did one thing or another in the Friday night talent show.  Their skits were super cute with my favorites being John and Elena singing "Everything is Awesome" from the Lego Movie and a large group doing a "Camp's Got Talent" skit!  These kids are too creative!

Even the weather was gloomy as we left our beloved shores of Lake Champlain....
Our tradition is to eat apple cider donuts for breakfast when we leave camp.  It's the only donut worth eating in my opinion.

We are always happier when we take the ferry picture going to camp.  Despite the rain we had a memory-filled awesome week.  Can't wait to return next year and do it all over again!!!!

Wa Widi Eagle Camp....