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They Swim Too Well!

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Today, in “What Should We Do While Taylor Is At Football Practice, Chapter 12” we decided to go swimming. The outdoor pool was already closed for the season so we went to a hotel that we used to swim at. As an added bonus, we had 4 unused punches left in our punch pass there from a year and a half ago.

The kids love to swim, but took things to a new level tonight. Liberty was floating on a noodle all by herself. I was working on strokes with Natalie and canon balls with James. I turned around to see Liberty jump off the side in the deep end with just her noodle. And she loved it, proceeding to climb up the ladder and repeat multiple times.

Later I asked Natalie to get the noodle so that I could get a picture of all of them jumping. Liberty said, “I can jump!” and leapt off the side of the pool unassisted, swam underwater to the stairs, climbed out and said, “See?”

Sure did! With my mouth agape in shock at the child who, 2 months ago, wouldn’t jump off the dock with me catching her!

The fact that they are all swimming so well and with such confidence made my job as a single mom at the pool much more difficult as they continued to jump, leap, cannon ball, float, fly and splash in three directions at any given moment. I was constantly on the lookout for noses and mouths above the water line.

We all survived and this makes just the kind of story I want to remember in 365 Photos.

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Exercise for Fun

If you’ve been watching my daily photos, you’ve seen that I’ve started running. But I much prefer tricking my body into exercise – like by playing volleyball. We’ve been playing on a team with somewhat rotating members since last fall. And I didn’t realize that I could still, at my age, practice a sport and continue to get better. We started out a losing team on the C-league, also known as the beer league, last fall. But we’ve come a long way as a team. Tonight our opponent forfeited due to lack of players. An A-league team was in the same boat, so we petitioned them to intermix with us and play a scrimmage. They agreed and it was an absolute blast. It was almost like having a team of coaches show us some more advanced plays.

Regardless of whether we have played A, B, or C league teams, exercise is much more fun when you’re out socializing, laughing and drinking beer with friends.

The photo tonight is of the Chippewa River, on the property where we play. Tonight’s humid and sticky whether had us sitting by the water soaking our feet with a Summer Shandy before our game started. Good-bye summer league! It’s been real!

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Kubb Is His Passion

If you’ve never heard of Kubb, it’s because you’ve never met my husband. He learned how to play through some co-workers and was immediately hooked. Also dubbed Viking Chess, Kubb (pronounced koob) is a yard game that involves some skill and strategy, but can be picked up easily by passers-by. He has taught people from WI, MN, IL, AZ, CA and even Canada how to play.

Kubb is said to have been brought to the area by Eric Anderson, who also designed and has hosted the Kubb National Tournament in Eau Claire, WI since 2007. (http://www.usakubb.org). Eric works along with a lot of friends and fellow Kubb players to promote Kubb in Eau Claire and all over the Midwest.

My husband has played in two Kubb Nationals Tournaments and a few other smaller regional tournaments. He joins other legendary players, such as Gregg Jochimsen, on Thursday nights at the Eau Claire soccer park to practice. Almost weekly, people walk by and ask, “Hey- what are you playing?” Some of them join in or even become weekly regulars.

The game itself is intriguing but what makes Kubb so neat in my mind is passing on the idea of Kubb Fellowship. It’s the notion of getting people out and moving and socializing. It’s about teaching people a new game and being part of a casual and laid-back grassroots effort to encourage friendship and camaraderie. If you’re new to the game or even if you’re just not that good at it, you are invited to play and continue. The core group of people who play are all different with various types of jobs and other interests, but what they all have in common is a friendly, welcoming attitude and a love for the game.

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Today’s picture was taken at the WHYS Radio Annual Bluegrass Festival in Altoona, WI. 8-23-14

Growing Up

Recently sitting at a parade in town James saw the Marching Cardinals come by. As he watched them, his eyes lit up. Then one of the building principals handed him a Cardinals pennant. He said, “I can’t wait to be a Cardinal!”

Kids want to grow up so fast. And I remember feeling that way too. Now sometimes I would like to go back to a time with less obligations and less responsibility, free to do what I want.

But, then I remember, if I went back, I wouldn’t get the pleasure of seeing this little Cardinal-to-be climb on the counters to make his own breakfast, and his sisters’ breakfasts, each morning.

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Today’s picture made me stop in the middle of a very hectic day and remember a very special friend. In fact, one of the only friends I’d share a diet coke with. And, if she was close, I’d even give her the first drink because everyone knows that’s the best sip (especially in cans, which are better than bottles).

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What does the word “salad” make you think of? Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, shredded carrots and ranch dressing? I must admit that was likely my visual representation for “salad” for a long time. In the past few years as I’ve broadened my food horizons past more typical foods to include things like whole wheat pasta, quinoa, beans and all types of cabbage, I’ve begun to look at salad differently. In fact, my salads rarely contain lettuce at all anymore.

One key to healthy eating is a little bit of planning and preparation, which, I’ll admit, are all more part of my husband’s chemical make-up than mine.

Recently we’ve been eating a lot of salads composed of already-chopped vegetables and already-cooked meat, beans and quinoa stored in separate containers in the fridge. Equally delicious warm or cold, these salads are easy to whip up. Just grab a bowl, containers from the fridge and start scooping anything you like. You’re bound to end up with whole-foods healthiness because that’s what all of the containers hold.

Tonight’s salad, the subject for my photo of the day, contains quinoa, ground beef, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, onions, black beans, cabbage, and avocado. I call it the seven layer salad, although a friend recently told me that it sounds like more than seven layers. It is delicious enough to eat 6 times this week (so far) and full of healthy proteins, fats and other nutrients. And since, thanks to Riley, it’s already chopped up and ready, it’s as easy as ordering a pizza!

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Read To Me, Sissy

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Tonight Natalie got started with story time while I finished cleaning up after bath time. This was a much quieter start to bedtime than the usual jumping-on-beds-like-monkeys routine. Natalie and Liberty like Pinkalicious because she is pink and eats cupcakes and calls herself Pinkerella. James likes it when Pinkalicious continues to eat too many cupcakes and turns red, and the pesky little brother who yells “Pinkaboo!” at the end of the book.