Thursday, February 19, 2015

I Couldn't Do It Without My "Bigs"

I couldn't do it without them. I couldn't raise my 6 kids without the help of the older 3.  Eamon, Liam and Mairin take on many roles in our home.  I mentioned long ago that when the triplets were born David suggested that we assign a triplet to each of the older 3.  This would be their lifelong buddy. The one that they look after and take hold of when needed.  The buddy that you grab when we are walking thru a parking lot.  When kindergarten homework comes home and mom is in a tizzie that is the buddy you grab to read with.  Eamon is the oldest so he took on Colin (the oldest triplet) then Liam with Declan and ending with Mairin and Finn.  Colin worships Eamon, Declan and Liam are just alike and let's face it...Mairin loves having someone to boss and mother.

I gave up doing showers about a year ago.  The big buddy grabs his little and they take their showers together.  We change it up a bit with Mairin and Finn.  Mairin just stands outside of the shower and helps.  When we go on vacation the buddy system is very handy.  You will often see our family walking 2 by 2 down the street with David and me bringing up the rear.

It is especially handy on a day of skiing when the trips have never tried the chair lifts.  I make them buddy up and show a Little how to do it.  When we go to amusement parks a Big rides with their Little.

We visited the movie theater this past week and although I love my children dearly...I just could not spend 90 minutes (that I would never get back) watching the Sponge Bob movie.  I got them all set up and the Big had to share a popcorn and pop with a Little.  I walked them all in and got them situated in their seats in the proper order and I headed out and sat in a lounge area right outside the movie with my girlfriend and I had my very own play date.  We had a wonderful 90 min chat while Sponge Bob played on.

It gets even better.... When I am in the middle of cooking dinner or laundry and they all want to go skating out on the pond.  I can sometimes negotiate a Big lacing up the skates of the their Little.  I try not to do this often but knowing it is an option can be the difference of me losing my mind or staying calm cool and collected.

The older Eamon and Liam get the more freedom they get from the rest of us.  I am letting them explore some of their own independence.  It is hard to let go though.  We are experimenting with them doing some babysitting and so far they are exceeding our expectations with their ability to get the trips all tucked into bed.  We still have to work on getting the house in order for when we arrive home but that too will come in time.  It really does take a village to raise a family and I am thankful to have many around to lend a hand.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Something that begins as a memory and continues as a tradition

Popcorn..We roll big when it comes to popcorn.  We buy it from Costco in the biggest container they sell.  I do it the old fashioned way.

My grandfather was a pretty amazing man.  He died when I was 7 years old but the memories he left me with are very vivid.  My sister and I spent a good amount of time with our grandparents. They lived in Edmore which was a town that bordered Stanton and just 10 short minutes away.  Morley was Superintendent of Montabella schools and Nanny (Colleen) was a kindergarten teacher.  Nanny is still with us (bless her heart) in a nursing home in St. Johns.  My grandfather used to have the biggest garden ever in his backyard and even as young as I was I remember spending lots of time out there while he weeded and picked the veggies.  I especially remember that he grew popcorn.  He always planted the same kind (called tender pop because it was tiny and tender.  It pops to about half the size of normal popcorn and is much easier on the teeth) and every year we would husk it and prepare it for popping  Your hands would get almost raw as you would wrap your hands around the small ears and twist in opposite directions until the kernels would loosen.
We would have a bowl full of kernels and lots of chaff.  He always waited for a windy day or he would pour the kernels from one bowl into the other in front of a fan and that would blow away all the chaff.   I can still hear the sound of the metal pan that he used moving back and forth over the electric stove.  He would just cover the bottom of the pan with oil.  It was actually shortening back then.  A large dollop to be exact.  I can still see the white dollop melting as I was allowed to stand on a stool next to stove.  He would add just enough corn to cover the bottom of the pan.  It had to be covered and then you waited to hear the popping start.  You had to be very careful at this point not to burn it.  This is why he would keep the pan moving over the burner and only stopping when he knew all the kernels were popped.  He always had the salt and some melted butter waiting next to the pan and would doctor up each pot after it was poured into the big bowl.  We would all get our napkins and be able to eat at TV trays in the living room with some sort of good television show.  It is one of my fondest memories of spending the night at Nanny and Grandpa's house.

I remember that my mom always popped popcorn the very same way.  She had a pan that she still to this day calls the popcorn pan because it is literally black.  It was ruined from years and years of burned grease on the outside of the pan.    I started doing it the same way years ago when I began having kids (my pan is also looking really bad).  My kids love popcorn and the mere thought of having to buy enough microwave bags to feed all 6 would keep David working at least another 5 years.

We have made some adjustments to our popcorn making by forgoing the shortening and using either olive oil or coconut oil and usually foregoing the butter.  The kids enjoy it with or without butter so I will  trade off depending on what kind of junk was eaten that day.  There are many nights when everyone votes for popcorn instead of dinner and I am usually in agreement with that request.  That is what happened tonight.  If you think for a minute that there is any left for the next day...You are sadly mistaken.

No one in the family grows their own popcorn anymore so I went years without the tender pop but thanks to Aunt Myrna we found it again.  Myrna has found a stand down at the Eastern Market where we can all buy big jugs of it for a reasonable price.  I am always excited when she leaves a jug for me in an Easter basket or surprises me with a jug on a Saturday afternoon after returning from the market.  This is also one of the many reasons why I love going down to the market with her.

Something that begins as a memory but continues as a Tradition.

Monday, February 9, 2015

You have to admire his fortitude

It was a normal morning with the normal rushing around.  I finished packing the lunches and as the older 3 were walking out the door for the bus I was afforded a couple of minutes to sit down and chat with the triplets.  I grabbed Finn and stole a hug and a cuddle.  We started talking about swimming and he wanted to know if we were going to swim this summer.  I responded with a very excited yes but also explained that I remembered that he didn't like competing so he could just do the practices and no swim meets if he didn't want to.   Finn got very uncomfortable this past summer when the swim meet would get into full swing and all the noise, people and the attention was on him.  He wanted no part of the official racing. (he is probably the fastest swimmer out of the 3 too) but ok I did not push it.  We had the perfect agreement and everyone was happy.  So I thought.

When we finished our conversation about swimming he waited a couple of minutes and then came up to me and started to cry. "I'm not going to school today". I didn't know what to say so I asked why.  He answered with, "I don't like it when kids get into trouble at school".  We went back and forth for a few minutes and finally I understood that he had a substitute for several days and there were some kids (including my Colin) who were not listening and behaving like they would if the normal teacher was there.  The para professional in the classroom got frustrated a couple times and Finn did not like the change.  He was determined that he was not going to go to school on this particular day.  I assured him that the Mrs Clark was going to be back in the classroom but there was no changing his mind.  It came time to put our gear on and he did not move.  I tried counting to 5 and nothing.  I tried telling him that if he didn't get moving I would call his dad....Nothing.  He locked eyes with mine and didn't even blink.  He didn't smile or move.  He just said, "I'm not going to school today".  I began self coaching....."don't panic Heather we are cool.  He is not going to win this battle.  Crap what do I do now? This has never do I react".   I stayed calm and and I sent the other 2 out the door and then turned to look at Finn...He was still standing firm.  He had a mean stink eye directed right at me. (I'm a little intimidated at this point..I'm not gonna lie...What the heck is happening?  This kid is definitely doing things his way.  )  I mean short of picking him up and physically putting him on the school bus...he is at that age that things are a little different.  I immediately send him to his room so that I can gather my thoughts and call David.

"David your son will not go to school today and what do you suggest I do?" I whispered into the phone fearful that my 6 year old son might hear me and discover that his mother is not nearly as calm, cool and collected as he thinks.  David was blown away that he did this but said to give him the option of either going to school or staying in his room for the day.  Make it clear there will be No legos, no electronics and no TV.  "Ok, David I have this one.  I can handle this 6 year old.  Thanks for the input and have a great day".  (thank goodness for team parenting.  Between the 2 of us we can outsmart this little nugget) I gathered up a stack of books, pens and pads of paper and headed up to his room.  He was sitting on his bed and I offered to take him to school.  He stayed on course and refused.  I calmly explained that if he didn't go to school than he needed to stay up in his room. I handed him   a stack of books to read and some paper and pens so that he could write and practice numbers.  He seemed ok with it and I was calm and very matter of fact.  I left the room and still in awww of what was happening. I went downstairs and started my day.  I changed my plans since it was apparent that I was also staying home all day.  I ended up baking cookies and decorating for the day.  I even had another mom over to bake with me so that I could at least have some company.  Finn came down periodically and I let him have his morning snack at the kitchen table and then scooted him off to his room.  Keep in mind that at this point I was done being mad.  I was just simply treating him the way I told him I would and reminding him that he chose to stay home.   I wanted to be very careful and not give him lots of attention.  The last thing I wanted was for him to think when he stays home it is fun time with mom.  He never argued with me and upon completion of his snack I would hear the pitter patter of footsteps going up the stairs and the latching of his door.    He repeated the pattern for lunch and an afternoon snack.  He asked me when he could come out and I told him that when his brothers came home he could come out.  He seemed ok with that answer as well.  4:02pm came and Colin and Declan whip open the door with smiles and backpacks.  Finn heard the commotion and down the stairs he came.  He said, "mom can I come out now?".  "Yes, Finn you sure can".  I also told him. "You are going to school tomorrow" and he said "Yes mom I know".

I was in complete shock that this kid spent the entire day in his room.  You can't help but admire his fortitude.  I decided to drop the topic and move on to bigger and better things.  Alright everyone time for homework, dinner, swimming and everything else we had to do for the evening.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Everyone Needs To Pitch In

There are so many people out there that I have run into who are scared of my life.  Scared of the amount of kids and quite frankly scared of the work required.  I get it...there are mornings when I wake up scared to face my to do list.   The other morning I was having my coffee and contemplating what the 2nd snow day (that we were blessed with) was going be comprised of.  I grabbed my post it notes and began writing out to do lists for everyone.

Liam- (widely known in our house as the organizer. Very detailed and loses nothing).  He got to do the basement organizing. Dump out all the mix matched toys in the bins and put the pieces all back to where they belong.  This is a big job and is done twice a year. He accepted the challenge with a smile.

Eamon- (known for a slower method of work but a deep thinker.  I always say he is just like his dad)  He was assigned his drawers in his room. Go thru them and pull out the stuff that is too small, stuff that doesn't have a match and the stuff that you will not wear.  Then shovel all snow off trampoline outside.  When the basement is clean please vacuum.  Eamon doesn't necessarily accept with a smile but he never gives me grief either.

Mairin - (be bops around the house and replies with yes to everything because she ultimately knows the end game. A play date  might be in her future. The boys often call her a show off because she can be so agreeable)  She gets to clean her room, go thru her drawers, vacuum family room and be my runner.

Colin (very obedient especially when a possible treat is involved) He was assigned the entryway clean up.  Then he was instructed to clean his room and make his bed.

Declan -( kind of a spaz so jobs need to be short in order not to lose him) He got to help clean his room and make his bed. He had to cleanup the garage (pick up all coats and boots and put them in bins). I had him bag the returnables and then he became my runner.

Finn - (another very organized dude and very eager to work).  He was assigned to be Liam's  right hand man and he liked that.

I had everyone off doing their jobs and as they finished I would assign more until everyone finished.  I cleaned the kitchen and folded laundry while sending little nuggets upstairs and down with things that needed homes in different rooms.  1.5 hours later we were rocking the cleanest house with a happy mom.  I offered a trip to  the sledding hill for everyone who wanted to go.

Many hands make light the work.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Early Mornings and Lots of Lunches!

What do your mornings look like?  I bet if you have children, you can relate to the crazy rat race of a morning.  I cannot even imagine what a morning is like with multiple children and a working mom.  I can at least run around and get everyone out the door and then go put myself together.  Working mom's out there...I have to hand it to you..You require even more organization and time management than I am exhibiting in this post.  Cheers to you!!!!!

I have been meaning to post pictures of my morning lunch production.

My alarm goes off at 6:30am and I head downstairs to prepare 7 lunches, 3 snacks and help out with 6 breakfasts.  I pack lunches for all 6 of my littles and my wonderful husband. I let the older 3 pick 1 day a week where they buy lunch.  My reasoning for packing lunches is because I fear that everyday they would pick junk for lunch.  There are so many lines now and so many junk options that my kids would be the ones who pick the chips and strawberry milk for lunch.  Not to mention a little bag of chips is 1.50.  It doesn't take long for those to add up.  What happened to the old lunch lines where you got into 1 line and got 1 option?  Anyway...I don't necessarily like packing lunches but it gives me peace of mind knowing what they are eating.   I am up anyway so why not be in my normal spot...the kitchen.

I have found that in the past couple years I have been able to send leftovers with the older 3.  I will cook chicken breasts for the week and send in chicken breasts with ranch (they love this and can it be any healthier????).  My theory on this is that if I send them a lunch and they are not crazy about a certain fruit or vegetable...if that is all there is ..they are sure to eat it if they are hungry.

This morning the older 3 got pork loin strips, roasted potatoes and carrots for lunch and it was all from dinner last night.  On days like this I throw in a Cheetos or CheezIt to make the lunch fun.  It is also a great way for me to cook at night and be able to spread out a meal into several.  The banging of the backpacks and grabbing of the lunches occurs at 7:15am when the 1st batch heads out the door for the bus.  The triplets gather their lunches and pack their bags for the bus by 8:15am.  The hour gap provides me with a break for a cup of coffee and time for any emergency that may arise.

The triplets are new to the whole lunch stuff since this is their first year at all day school. I am easing them into their lunches by packing mostly sandwiches or wraps.  I am still figuring how much to send for them and what they are willing to eat and what they are not touching.  Every kid seems to be a little different when it comes to eating away from home. I love hitting the dollar store and finding a cool container that will fit certain snacks.  I know..its all about the little things that keep you coming back for more.

There are the mornings when the 1st batch leaves and there is a lunch that is left behind but hey it happens.  There are the evenings when they tell me about a lunch option that I failed miserably at.  Most recently I made smoothies and put them in the silicon tubes and froze them.  I thought it would be great but the kids informed me that they melted before lunch and turned black and then they separated and tasted terrible.  Eamon had a day when his yogurt exploded in his lunch box..."Eamon go ahead and grab a hot lunch when that happens".  Liam will not look at his lunch ahead of time because he wants to be surprised.   Mairin is constantly hanging over my shoulders wondering what I am putting in her lunch.  Eamon is the picky one and informs me that he does not like pudding but he really likes the carrots with ranch.  "mom we don't have lots of time to eat so we need things we can eat kind of fast".  Good to know Eamon....good to know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Boys and A Girl

I received a wonderful email the other day from a super mom of 8 year old twin boys and another set of twin boys on the way.  She reached out to say how she enjoyed reading my blog but also to inquire about life with so many boys.   I was so excited for her and went on to respond to her with all of the wonderful things that a big family of boys offers.  I was blessed with 5 boys but I cannot completely relate because I was blessed with my Miss Mairin who is my mini me in every way.  I love her to pieces and she often gets thrown into the mess of boys but she never complains..well rarely.....

It really made me start to think about how my life differs from lets say...a family with all girls.  I have been to the play dates with the pretty girls.  The pretty dresses and the girls that sit nicely and quietly and color.  Mairin has friends over and you don't hear from them until they are hungry.  They are up singing in their rooms or making videos.  They make getting ready for bed a production and packing for a sleepover a monumental event.  The boys...not so much.

My 12 year old boys have friends over and all they want is some food that they can take to the basement along with cans of pop (not always allowed here..more for special occasions) and permission to rent an On Demand movie.  They want to pull out the couches and sleep down there and they really would rather the adults stay upstairs.  They are never doing anything bad (yet)  but if you do listen in you hear 12 year old boys talking lots of smack.  They don't care about special pillows or enough bedding for everyone.  They just want to hang.

The triplets and a play date..Watch out... It usually begins with a fight.  The fight is always over my 3 boys wanting the undivided attention of the friend. (no I don't usually have a friend for each of them or I would have 6 little 5 year old boys running that would send me over the edge.) These play dates are loud, busy and destructive.  Call me crazy but this is why I don't do a lot of triplet play dates.  My house becomes a maze of obstacles and making my kitchen and living room a circular track to run.  I am constantly suggesting activities outdoors.

The life of boys.....It happened today in fact!  I looked out the window to see 2 boys playing in the sandbox and 1 standing and peeing.  Boys just stand up..pee and then go back to playing.  Staying on topic...drips in the bathroom.  Boys are rough and quick.  They fly into the bathroom and they fly out.  They leave a trail where ever they go.  They brought me a snake the other day and spent a long time playing with it, making a home for it and holding it.  They named it "boney" because it felt like bones.  This is what I love about my boys because they do know how to take life back to the simplest form and run with it.

Dirty hands don't bother them and the more mud the better.  They have healthy appetites and someone is constantly hungry or thirsty.  I can always make a casserole and not have to eat it for a week.  We have dinner and then we have after dinner..dinner.  (This is really for the 12 year olds and especially after a long hockey practice).  

We never go anywhere quietly and usually when we do go out someone spills a drink or dumps something on the floor.  It costs just over $40.00 to hit the McDonald's drive thru for the 8 of us and the snack packs of 12 that you purchase at the store only lasts for a short minute.  My life revolves around....where are we going? how long will we be there? and if food and drink is needed to be packed.  Stopping off at restaurant or convenience store is not cheap for the Mott family.  I try to keep a case of water in the back of my vehicle and a box of various snacks in the glove box. Something to tide over a hungry or cranky kid can be priceless.

I love my broad of boys and my 1 little girl.  Mairin surely knows how to get dirty and she is rough and tough but she also loves getting dressed up and going out with mom.

Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm Home Alone! All 6 In School

Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that I am home.  Don't tell anyone that I can go back to bed at 8:15am when the last batch of kids get on the bus.  This is a world that I do not even remember.  I have had someone little at home and in my house for the past 12 years.  There has always been someone who is younger and not in school yet.  There has always been the juggling of babysitters if I needed to do anything during the day.  I almost don't know what to do and how to react.  Everyone asks me what the heck I am going to do with all of my time and I just answer with a blank look of..."I don't know"?  Do I need to know at this point?  I mean haven't I put in my time?  Don't I get a couple of weeks off?  Come on..what about that Lifetime Marathon on TV from 9am til 4pm that I used to dream about when I was home with my 2 year old triplets.

So far I have done nothing but catch up.  I have been going from one appointment to another.  I have been driving kids to get glasses repaired, braces adjusted, dental cleanings and the most appointment for me.  My Aunt Myrna had a knee replacement yesterday and I just couldn't bear not being there to support her.  It was the first time I could be there for her and not pay for a babysitter. The day went so fast that before she was out of surgery recovery I had to head home to get the kids off the bus.

My world is really consumed by food.  I am constantly trying to come up with new lunch and dinner ideas.  I am now making 7 lunches every morning, 3 snacks and then preparing dinner for 8.  My refrigerator is full, my dishwasher is constantly full and these kids are always hungry.  This will take a couple weeks to get into the groove.  Oh and did I mention that 6:15am comes way too early after spending 3 months sleeping in.

1st Day of School Picture.  2 - 7th graders - 1 -4th grader - 3 - kindergartners

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Vacation-Upper Penninsula-Chapter 2

The first day of our trip is always exciting.  We arrive and everyone starts exploring.  David and I explore a little bit too and we are all a little giddy.  I quickly put everything away and get the cars all emptied out.  The kids are running around and I cannot find their bathing suits fast enough.  We make a great dinner and we have a campfire.  Sm ores and a cocktail for mom and dad and we are all good.  The 2nd day seems to resemble the first and all is good.  My mom is close by for a conference so she drops off Dad to hang out with us.  David decides to charter a boat and the men all go deep water fishing in Lake Michigan.  The Little's and I stay back and enjoy the day.  They come home with a king salmon and we have a great dinner on the grill.  The rain has arrived by this point and I make the call that we are doing our Upper Peninsula road trip the next day.  We drop off Dad at the resort and we head out mid day.  Our goal is Pictured Rocks in Munising, MI and then to Tehquamenon Falls.  While at the falls we decided to hit Whitefish Point and tour the "Shipwreck Museum" and learn all about the Edmond Fitzgerald.   We spent 2 nights in the Upper Peninsula and had some great visits.

Pictured Rock

The 2.5 hour round trip to see the pictured rocks.  It was a very cold day and quite windy.  We covered 30 miles on the boat that morning.
Hotel Living

Yes we had to get 2 hotel rooms each night.  We took turns on who slept with the triplets and who got the older kids.  I usually got the older ones and had Mairin share a bed with me.  We quickly started searching out Motels rather than Hotels in this situation.
All of my littles at the Falls
Now to the highlight of my Upper Peninsula experience.  I remember my grandmother taking my sister and me around Lake Superior as a child.  We traveled several weeks in a van and made lots of stops.  I specifically remember stopping at the Mystery Spot.  It was a hole in the wall small little side show in St Ignace.  You stop because you are curious.  It is just a small tour of illusions.  I told David that we had to do it.  He thought I was crazy because his mother would never stop at places like that.  I told him that mine did so we were going.  He kind of made fun of me driving there and laughed at me when we left.  They explain the location as sort of a mystery piece of land and it all happens because the land is unique.  Davids first question in the car was, " know that is not a magical place right".  "You know that it is all an illusion".  "Yes David I do but wasn't it kind of cool"?  He was more interested that someone thought of the idea and that the sign says there have been 3 million visitors so he was doing the math and giving the creators a lot of credit.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Vacation..Northern Michigan-Chapter 1

No TV for 2 electronics play dates and lots of together time.  Hours spent in the car with knees touching and the occasional falling asleep on the sibling next to you.  Sitting in the seat that requires distribution of sandwiches to all parties and knowing that that job requires you to eat last.  Seeing a movie in the car twice..maybe 3 times because the little ones wanted it and it is just easier to keep them happy.  Going right to the edge of your sanity because the noise will not stop.  Feeling the blood swell into your neck and taking a deep breath because you can't imagine hearing "stoooopppp touching me" again.  Enjoying the board games at 10pm and teaching the kids how to play.  Campfires at night and the questions that come out.  I specifically remember one night when David said, "ok ask me anything".  Eamon asks, "why did WWII start" and "why was Hitler so bad"? David loved that and I the conversation began.  I think that was a late night around the fire.

When there is no electronics or TV it is amazing what the kids find to do.  They all played in the sand and buried each other for hours.  They made up tons of games in the yard and collected rocks and painted them. They would go diving in the lake in search of treasures and ended up finding an old pair of Ray Bans. They collected craw fish and skipped rocks.  They must have opened every board game at the cottage we were staying at and figured out to play them all.  It was lots of fun.

We took a family vacation these past several weeks.  I believe it to be the 1st trip we have taken for a long period with all of the kids.  We left Metro Detroit on August 9 and returned on August 22nd.  We stayed at a cottage on Torch Lake that belongs to David's aunt/cousin.  They were so gracious to open up their cottage to us.  We had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and plenty of room to move in.  I packed a ton of stuff so that we could go and not eat out everyday.  We drove 2 vehicles so we could divide and conquer.  We took many road trips and have so so many memories of our trip together.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

They DId It...

Summer activities are just that...summer activities.  Having the triplets swim on the swim team is merely my way of creating an event that happens everyday at the same time.  We get up and we have somewhere to go and it keeps them active.  I know that the Olympics are not in our future and if we miss a practice...oh well.  

This past Wednesday I was gushing with pride as we had our first swim meet (time trials).  The triplets had never been to a swim meet before (always left them home with a sitter while I would go watch the older ones in their meet).  They have been swimming for the past several weeks..5 to 6 days a week.  I did all I could do to pump them up and get them excited for the day.  I didn't know if I would actually get all of them into the water and with triplets you really never know what will happen until the very last minute. We came with our racing suits (that is what they call them) and the swim caps.  They had to complete all 4 strokes so we could get times for them.  Obviously they are not very fast...good lord we are just thrilled they have the basic stroke concept down and can make it to the end of the pool.  They put the trips in their own heat so it was very special for me to be able to watch my little nuggets all at once experience their very first competitive swim.  I am happy to report that they completed all 4 strokes and we only had mild tears from 1. When they had to swim the breast stroke they all got up on the blocks and after 3 belly smacks I knew at least 1 was not gonna like that.  Finn comes to me at the end and with a tear says, "I never wanna get up on those things again".  "Ok buddy we don't have to. You can jump in without getting on the blocks".  Then after Finn finished the last stroke...his favorite..freestyle he came to me and said, "Mom I don't like this".  Finn is not a fan of the attention all being on him.  So many people are drawn to him that he has quite the fan following.  This kid will have a group of young ladies and young men falling over him at practices.  The girls all say..."Hiiiii Finnnnnnnn" with their wave and the boys all are "high five me bro".  He is the popular one (not by choice at all) and he doesn't even want it....well I think he is getting used to it.  We talked and finally I got out of him that he didn't like it that I was not at the end when he finished.  He didn't like all of the attention on him and having to get out of the water and come to the other end to get me.  I smiled and told him that I will be at the end for him next time.  The time trials were a great success and I was so proud to see them exert their little independence.  I stopped off at the candy store after the meet for a treat for all.

This was Mairin's first year of having to do 50's (that is down and back).  She was sucking lots of wind but did well.  Liam is well into doing 50's but with his growth this past year it was fun watching how much faster he got this year.  My eldest, Eamon swims in practice everyday but is not competing this year so he cheered on his friends and siblings during the meet.  

This summer has been fun.  The kids have their stuff to do and I even manage to get an hour and some days even 2 while they are in their activities.  This will be Eamon's last year of swimming I am guessing.  I have encouraged as long as I can.  He has been a great sport this year and I am so proud.  Heck I am so geeked and proud of all of them.