A Year at Goldfish

It is hard to believe it has been over a year since we started our swim journey with Goldfish swim school. Our first lesson consisted of tears from all three of us, and the staff was so supportive that we kept going. By week three, we were sold!  I am grateful for the opportunity, and even more grateful to watch from the outside of the pool as my kids form trust with their instructors and grow every week.

The kids began as hesitant swimmers, afraid to put their faces in or sometimes to even get in the water at all. We had embarrassing nights (a lot of them) filled with screams and tears. I feel for those parents when I see it happen around us, because we have been there.

But look at them now!

Rhys is in a class without me (game changer), and is doing a great job trying to swim to the island (with help), wear goggles, and showing his safety skills (click clacks along the wall).

Larkyn is still in the same swim level, as she is unsure of herself in areas where she needs to show independence. But, she is putting her face in and is willing to try many new skills at an increasing speed.

Last week, I saw her jump from the wall to the island, inhaling a huge gulp of water. She was upset and I thought "Well, that't the end of this lesson". Nope. It looked like her instructor was able to give a good balance of "dust yourself off" and "oh poor baby", and she was over it in about a minute. That is huge for this little girl. Just this summer, you can see that she needed assistance going to the island. But now, she just jumps!

When we go on vacations now, the kids are excited for pools and hot tubs. Before our swim experience at Goldfish, we would have to take turns watching the kids and swimming, because they wouldn't go near it.

When I ask the kids, "Where do you go if you fall into water?", they know the answer. Back to the wall. The fact that this experience could equip them with lifesaving skills is not lost of me. With one kiddo in school, a full job time, and a side gig of photo shoots and editing, there is precious little time for anything extra. But this 30 minutes per week is important.

I am so proud of my little swimmers and again, and so thankful for the gift of Goldfish swim school.

Our October

Our October was unique. Typically, it has been one "festive" event after another, trying to fit it all in. I love all that and I think the kids do too. But I found myself waking up and looking at the calendar more weekends than not, wondering "should we really do this or just play at home?" I notice that the kids don't actually care where we go, just that I am giving them some undivided attention. So, I tried to find some balance with staying in and going out with them. Intentional time.

I had photoshoots every weekend and have had so much fun with the new families I am meeting. I have learned that (though I was scared to work with them), seniors are much easier and more fun than I anticipated. Toddlers are adorable and always on the run, and dads blink a lot. I learned how to head swap and eye swap in Photoshop to make up for the blinking dads.

The time away from the kids during photoshoots is a challenge, but I know that not every month will be like October. I don't anticipate many people wanting to book outdoor photos in January. And the extra income is so welcome in a bit of an uncertain time with Matt's career path.

I stepped back from the blog partly out of necessity (editing photos takes a lot of time) and partly out of desire. I became obsessed with Sons of Anarchy, and it has given me something to look forward to at night (or while waiting for my mom in eye surgery, or during nap time...) and a story line to follow. I didn't know I missed that until I got hooked.

But I still wanted to catch up here and document our October days....

Out at pumpkin farm #2. Picking pumpkins we eventually would leave at the farm due to the insane line to pay for them. And picking up candy corn dropped in the pumpkin patch. 

We went to visit Matt's grandparents and family in the Cleveland area. I always love this trip, especially the incredible food his grandma makes for us. That was one of two apple pies she made from scratch, with 9 pounds of apples!

Mo and Declan came over to make Halloween puppy chow. We were missing several ingredients and saw the biggest spider in my house EVER, but man is that puppy chow the best.

This Fall, Homestead Park is home to a gorgeous field of cosmos. They go as far as you can see, and are so inviting for the kids to run through, tackle each other, etc. 

And pretend you didn't see these. They will probably be on our Christmas cards.

In the back of our neighborhood, we often take a trail. Each time, there is something new. This time, we found the perfect climbing tree, massive maple leaves, and a doe who stared at us until we left. 

One Sunday morning, I went on my third Columbus Food Adventures tour. This was the mother of all tours: Brunch!  We went to four restaurants, and I tried everything from Akoori (Indian scrambled eggs) to chiliquiles (breakfast nachos, kind of), a HUGE breakfast skillet, poutine, and of course, chicken and waffles. These tours continue to be my favorite adult indulgence, learning about the food, the businesses, and the history of our city on the way. 

Another adult moment: our first Buckeyes game together!  We bought the tickets on a whim and had the BEST weather of the whole season. Next time, we will spend more time walking around outside the stadium, but I was anxious to get to our awesome seats. 

The pumpkin she helped scoop and design...


My beautiful Alice in Wonderland!  She has loved this movie for years, and decided on this costume months ago. It might be my favorite one yet. 

It's a long story, but this guy wanted nothing to do with costumes. I finally found a shirt that was acceptable to him and attached a cape to the back without his knowledge. 

Off she goes! Rhys and I hung back in the stroller while she skipped to every door, knocked, waved, and was polite as could be. She lives for this night!! 

I am looking forward to my favorite month of the year. November brings our anniversary, anticipation for the holidays, and a little more calmness in my professional life. 

Homecoming 2016

It was January 2001 when I transferred from monstrous Ohio State to little Otterbein College after one disastrous quarter at OSU. I knew I needed the accountability of a smaller school, and I thrived there for the next 3.5 years. A huge part of this was due to pledging to Theta Nu.

I'll spare you all the details, but pretty much as soon as I started school, I went through rush and immediately had built-in friends. Some people laugh at the idea like it's "buying friends", but it was the perfect way for me to start fresh and join a group of girls who are still my friends.

Every fall, we try to go back to Homecoming, but I think this was Rhys' first time. They loved it!  Minus the confetti cannon blasting into power lines during the parade and me almost crying over the parking situation, it was the perfect morning with my sisters and our little Violets...

The theme was super heroes, so this guy was loving it. 

You ain't nothin, Spiderman...

Clapping along to the Theta Nu cheer

Candy thrown at you: Obviously the best part of parades. 

And active sisters who need to be added to my babysitting list...

Alumnae plus our spawn

Mommy, don't step on it. 

The line for the bouncy houses was out of control, so we walked uptown for Schneider's donuts, cookies, and a loaf of amazing pecan roll bread. 

Future cardinals??

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