Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer days

When I think about summers as a child, I recall many days spent playing at home, going to swim lessons and heading to the beach (thanks to my mom's love of tanning). We had simple summers. Rarely did we sign up for any camps--in fact, I only recall going to Zoo camp once. I've always looked back on my childhood summers as some of the best times of my childhood. I credit my mom for not over scheduling us. She let us be bored. She let us dig holes in the yard and play in the sprinklers. She let us read books upon books and (gasp!) watch tv if we wanted to. It was the best. 

Now with kids of my own, I strive to allow my kids the freedom to be bored. To invent new games. To dig holes in our yard. To run in the sprinkler (okay, maybe not that one because-drought). But you get it--I haven't scheduled them for every camp known to man (although at some point of each day I think of how nice it would be to have them out of my hair), nor have we gone on and elaborate trips or visited many pay-per-visit playgrounds or museums.

 We wake up in the morning and choose what we want to do. Sometimes this means we stay in pjs watching a Scooby Doo til ten, and others it means we throw on our tank tops and shorts  and head to the park at the beach. Sometimes we pack lunches, and others we stop for corn dogs at weinerschnitzel before heading home for naps. 

Our backyard has seen my kids playing in it from sun up til sun down. Our skateboards and scooters have had mileage put on them  (can't say the same for Sal's two wheeler- he's still not game for trying) as they race down the sidewalks looking for treasures aka bottle caps. The kids have assembled a balance beam out of unused 2x4's and they tiptoe down the beam so "alligators don't get them". 

We've gone through countless boxes of Popsicles and bandaids. We've done two sessions of swim lessons and finally have a child who's happy to submerge his face under water. We've got a sixteen month old who practices his climbing skills on our back wall, and a two year old who learned a "booty bounce" on their trampoline. 

All of this in thanks to our simple summer.   They've had the freedom to float from one thing to another as their little mind changes from one idea to another. 

They're just kids being kids...enjoying summer. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

2016 US gymnastics Olympic trials

Back in 2012, I had made a pact with a few of my former teammates to meet up at the 2012 Olympic trials which were to be held in San Jose, CA. We thought it would be a good place to have a mini reunion and catch some phenomenal gymnastics together. 

And wouldn't you know, after months of anticipation of meeting up with my girls, it was official, we'd be moving the first weekend in June to our new home in China. 

The same weekend as trials. 

I had to pass up the reunion-- while sad about not seeing some familiar old faces before I jetted cross the world, I was excited to get to China and find out what our new life had in store for us. 

When we moved back to California last year, I found out that the 2016 Olympic trials for women's gymnastics were going to be in San Jose again. 


I got to work wrangling up a few of my besties and we ordered tickets last summer....and then we waited and waited and waited for the next 10 months to pass. 

You guys, I had so much fun. I mean--more fun than I've had in a long long time. Nick manned the troops at home while I got away for the long weekend. 

Friday night was the preliminary round. I had an extra ticket in my purse and happened to run into one of my former competitors from when we were level 9's just trying to make it to a college team. Turned out she didn't have a ticket, so she bought my extra and we got to catch up sitting next to each other night one.  It was such a fun surprise to see her after twenty years!

       Friends since 10th grade- reunited!

Our seats were great! Right in front of bars with a great view of floor and vault. There were lots of nervous mistakes made by many (even Simone!!) but the level of difficulty coming from these teen girls is unbelievable. Simone's difficulty could outdo the men. For someone 4 foot nothing, she is amazing. Perhaps more than the top five televised girls ( Simone, gabby, aly, Laurie and ragan), I enjoyed watching the other seven phenoms that rounded out the competitor field. Here these girls were at the pinnacle of their elite career, having made Olympic trials, and most of America would never know their name. It's such a shame. 

        B   MyKayla Skinner- bars 

Saturday started at the crack of dawn, grabbing breakfast with my old teammate & trials roommate, Holly, before heading into the convention hall to put in a full day working at the GK elite wear booth. 

Working at the GK booth paid off! So many former Olympians and gymnastics-famous people came through. I don't tend to get star struck, but I did sweet talk Amanda Borden of the 1996 Mag 7 into a photo. 

Pics of her may or may not have covered my younger self's walls 

               My Jamie, love her. 

The day was a flutter of lots of little gymnasts running around in search of their idols to take a selfie with (how times have changed!) or have them sign a leotard. I remember those days (my coach took us to the 1991 world championships-a trip I will never forget) so vividly. It made me smile seeing another generation of girls so excited about the sport. 

 Met this one the 1st day of college practice and have been friends ever since 

Saturday night was dinner with another former roommate/ teammate, and a parade of Olympians. Over 100 former Olympic gymnasts dating back from 1950 were in attendance. Scotty McCreary, Kathrine McPhee and some Disney star put on a concert. I loved seeing my one time idols up on stage. 

Sunday gave me my first opportunity to sleep in sans kids since the birth of Sal!!!!! You better believe it enjoyed it. After a leisurely morning and hotel gym workout,
I met up with more teammates for a lunch gathering before finals. 

       Go Aggies! Gymnastics reunion. 

    Dawn, Jen & me- finals

While I had to leave finals early to make the drive home, what I saw was amazing.  Most of the nerves had been worked out, and Simone scored a near perfect vault score. A phone call from my girlfriend confirmed the team selected for me, and while the team selected didn't immediately make sense to me (Maggie Nichols wasn't even selected as an alternate despite the meet of her career), I get it now, and can not wait til August 7th and seeing the new fab 5 in Rio!

Anddddd, your 2016 Olympic team (+ Alts): Ashton, Aly, Madison, Gabby, Laurie, Mykayla, Simone and Ragan.