I've become a bad blogger. As I've mentioned before, summer is rough for us. James is so busy- he's the manager of the pool he uses in the summer, so he has 3 jobs instead of his usual 2, and the 3rd involves a lot of headaches like lifeguard staffing and member complaints that suck a lot of time with little personal payoff, plus the kids are in various camps around the city while Cora is still at her usual daycare in the other direction, and it's so freaking hot, and we have swim team, which we all love but which adds another layer of logistics and time commitment, and I still have a full-time job and a need to workout that has become its own part-time job... and it's just rough.
Super fun with the backyard pool and the swim meets and the kids camp adventures, but also exhausting with James working 18 hour days, most of them in the sun, rendering him genuinely unable to be the partner he usually is to me... and so nighttime becomes a time when I'm either working, helping him, or just decompressing on the couch with my laptop in another room. And though I need to step away, I feel bad that the funny stories and fun excursions and the truly predominantly awesome stuff in summer gets buried in the silence of nighttime when all the movement of the day, which felt fine all day, suddenly feels like too much and I yell things at James like "why does your dream job turn my dream job into the thing that lets me do everything else to make your dream job possible?!" But then he listens to my words and apologizes for letting his job take over and makes suggestions of how he can make things better and then he actually does them and things are better and I come back to earth and remember that we actually did still have tons of time together and I was never really doing everything and our weekends are still almost always genuinely awesome and full of family time and maybe my brain overheated while stuffing a protesting Cora back into her car seat after picking the big kids up from camp? Let's hang out on the couch and cuddle. And so another night goes by without a blog post or any progress on our DVR log.
Oh summer, I love and hate you.
But this is why I seem to keep popping in after the weekend to recount our activities and then disappearing for 7 days, which I'm totally about to do again, though hopefully not with the disappearing act afterward. We have things to discuss! I'm leaving the country soon and I haven't found a single cute beach dress to wear in Jamaica. Claire is starting Kindergarten and according to all the emails I've received today, I'm now on the Board of our PTA. I have no memory of volunteering for this, but guilt for the fact that I should probably have volunteered is going to keep me from asking any questions about it. Career opportunities abound but I will likely remain precisely where I am. Cora is a crazy person- fast, funny, temperamental, tyrannical, and tremendously busy. And yet she somehow remains incredibly mellow and up for being dragged along on all our adventures. Like this past weekend's trip to College Station for the state swim meet and on to Livingston for 22 hours at my parents' lake house.
So the TAAF Summer Games of Texas (aka "GoT," but not Game of Thrones as I kept saying in my head every time I saw it) is a big deal. We had no idea. Tons of sports, tons of athletes of all ages, tons of signs and workers and advertisements. There was even an opening ceremonies! Not that we would have gone, but it helps explain why all the hotel rooms were sold out when I called.
We drove to College Station with the kids on Friday night, stopping in Waco for dinner, and arriving at our hotel around 9. We naively thought the kids would be tired, but the novelty of staying in our standard room at the Courtyard Marriott was too much for them to handle and L&C giggled to themselves in their queen bed till 10 and then Cora popped up in her pack 'n play and SANG to us until 11. Happy singing, but singing nonetheless.
We packed up and got to the pool by 8, pleased to find parking available and our favorite competition pool unchanged. The A&M campus may be consistently ugly (sorry Aggies, I know you love it and it's a great school, but to the uninitiated, it's a lot of squat square brown prison-like buildings and very few trees), but the pool is fantastic. The first time I ever finaled in a national meet was there and James had several best times in those lanes. I think we were both surprised by how nostalgic it felt to walk up to it again. Swim memories aren't usually very strong for me anymore, but they smacked me in the face in the rec center lobby on Saturday.
I hadn't been at a serious meet in so long I forgot that the swimmers and spectators are totally separate until the end, so James and Landon had to go in a different entrance and I found myself standing in the lobby, shaking off nostalgia and schlepping Claire, Cora, and all our accessories AND my Starbucks up three levels into the stands. On the upside, this meant I had all the food. On the downside, the knowledge that Landon was probably hungry haunted me until James climbed up to the railing and I was able to pass food over the edge.
My parents arrived, with additional snacks, and I was very grateful for their company and help in the stands, particularly since James and I were so separated and we didn't know a single other person at the meet. It would have been a long 5 hours for me, probably without bathroom breaks because Cora likes to lay down face first on the ground anytime I set her down in a public place. And while I credit her time spend on bathrooms, grocery stores, and Target floors for her bulletproof immune system, I prefer not to push it.
Plus, Papa and Gigi love a good swim meet and the kids were thrilled to have them there.
James won all three of his events and set three new state records for his age group. He gave Claire one of his gold medals and she wore it proudly the whole drive back to the lake. No force on earth will convince her she didn't win it herself.
Landon did great too, dropping a second in his 50 fly and getting 6th overall. He added some time in his free and got 12th, but overall we were just so proud of him to be at the meet that big, in a pool that big, and not be intimidated and just enjoy himself. He waved to us on the block for both his events and I was grinning from ear to ear. I waved to my parents before every finals I ever swam in my whole career and I loved being on the receiving end.
(Should we be concerned that Cora refused to touch the sand?)
Landon has added new tricks and Claire has gotten so strong she could hold on to the rope for ever!
That was new, and Cora did not trust it.
And very fast boating.
Plus lots of swimming, popsicle eating, and lots and LOTS of jumping. And life guarding. Unlike in our pool, Cora did not feel duty bound to jump into the lake at every opportunity, and seemed to enjoy just watching her big sibs do crazy things off the dock while she held on to her thermos for 3 hours without ever taking a sip of water.
A highlight of Saturday evening, when they should have been exhausted beyond all reason, was staying up a little later to read in their special nook with their bean bag chairs and camping light.
Papa and Gigi's is the best.
And now I finished this a little after midnight last night, decided I couldn't publish it without reading it first, and went to bed. Bringing the whole post full circle to why summer is super fun while also slowly killing us. We'll be in Jamaica in two weeks with James's phone off and out of office message up. Then school will start. And then we'll all miss summer.
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