Saturday, July 31, 2010

Adventures in Kick Ass Parenting

So in preparation for the beach, I needed to make some pineapple martinis. They are the recipe of a local steakhouse, Frankie Rowland's, and take about a week to brew up. Tim was working, it was raining and I decided we should get something done, namely, shop for liquor. Loaded up the crew and headed out to the ABC store where, upon entry, I promptly ran into a neighbor. Off to a good start.

Then as we were heading up to the register, an employee gave each of the kids their very own miniature Crown Royal bag. Morrigan immediately declared hers would be going to camp with her. Excellent.

As we checked out, E told me I should purchase the liquor in the skull bottle because  it was "very cool." Maggie, speaking before I could, told him, "That's vodka and she doesn't need it. She just bought a huge bottle of vodka." Successful trip, wouldn't you say?

For all those interested in the fate of the huge bottle of vodka.....

Pineapple Martinis
Cut up one fresh pineapple and place in a seal able jug. Cover with vodka. Allow to set for at least a week. Then mash down the pineapple with a potato masher. Strain and transfer into a bottle. Keep refrigerated. To serve, shake with ice, strain and enjoy. (For the faint of heart you can add in a little pineapple juice.)

That Will Teach Me

I should be smarter. But weeks of sunny, hot weather had me spoiled and I just assumed that today would be a lovely day for the pool. BAD assumption as it is cold and rainy. And Tim just went back to work for a five day stretch. Ouch.

Should have gone to the pool yesterday when the weather was perfect. We had family pictures taken yesterday and had nothing on deck for the first part of the afternoon. But the kids weren't dying to go and I, thinking that today would be a full day at the pool, didn't press the issue.

The aforementioned family photo prompted a flurry of haircuts. I took all the kids to see Kara at St. Pierre's in Salem and, as ever, the results were fantastic.



I should have considered having her come over to style everyone the next day as I struggled with the flat iron. But I think I did ok. You can be the judge as we should have pictures from the shoot soon. Overall everyone behaved and cooperated, even Tim, though Eion's smile looked perpetually pained. But it has to be an improvement over this session:


Where there was no smiling at all. My attitude towards family pictures has always been that they are unlikely to be perfect but they will capture the moment. And for Eion, that moment was pained. Tim said he understood - he felt just like E looked. Pained or not, they all knew there was no fighting me on this.

We had dinner at Melanie & Jerry's. The girls immediately took to "babysitting" Summer.


Maggie quickly moved on but the nice surprise was that Morrigan didn't tire of it and spent a good part of the evening playing with her.


This bodes well for our week at the beach. She seems to be willing to work for free too! Seeing them together made me realize just how big the girls are getting. Granted, they are about to turn 7 & 9 so it shouldn't be a surprise but it really seems like just the other day that they were crawling around. Can we be cliche here and say they grow up too fast?

Anyway, I guess the rainy day will leave us plenty of time to finish packing for Morrigan's week at camp. There was a near crisis yesterday as she realized her "Team Edward" t-shirt was dirty and she couldn't include it in her trunk. I promised I could remedy the situation with a load of laundry.

With Plan A thwarted, it is on to Plan B: the gym.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Big Bacon Adventures

The kiddos went to two days of camp at the Club this week. They had a plan where you could purchase 15 days and use them as you like. Other than one unfortunate day involving some name calling and running away (EION,) it was largely well received by Maggie & Eion. But Sunday I realized the camp ended in two weeks and we were still in possession of eight days, pre-paid days. Tuesday being a good day for me to play tennis, I determined they all should go. This was met with much moaning and groaning from Morrigan who claimed it was a "baby camp" and she was going to be "so miserable." Flash forward to pick up where all three were happy as could be and insisting they should go back the next day. Done I say!

Really, I'm going somewhere with this, kind of. Anyhoo, in the car on the way to camp, the kids were amazed that it was almost August. I agreed that Summer was going by at an unprecedented rate. Maggie's determination was that "We have so much fun everyday that it it flying by!" I am really hoping that if they are having so much fun that I can cut back on the game playing. Theoretically, I am not against games. But it is tough when this is what your kids pick, day after day.




This Candyland of processed meat was a gift from Ann and Hans that I honestly had no intention of opening. The thought was good, we are well known lovers of bacon, but it was a gag gift. The kids had other plans. And love it.


I wouldn't mind if they played on their own but no, it seems to be the best when I play. Just this afternoon I agreed to play a few rounds with Maggie, which, incidentally, can go on for a really long time, I think it is part of the sick humor of the creators. Morrigan, who was moments before too busy packing for camp (we'll get back to it,) came down to join the fun. I lasted through three games before I fled under the guise of folding laundry. I do love that the game's penalty zone is Vegan Alley, "a dark and dangerous place where veggie burgers look like beef jerky and tofu looks like olive loaf." Game is available for the borrowing. Or having!

Can't be too upset, I suppose, that Morrigan's packing was derailed. She's going to a Hogwarts-themed Girl Scout sleep away camp on Sunday. And since I will have to repack everything, I don't mind she didn't get too far without me. Her excitement level is off the charts. Seriously, this camp is right in her geeky wheelhouse. Maggie is just happy to have the room to herself and a few days with just me as E uses up the remaining prepaid days at camp. Let's hope I can find some non-bacon activities for said days.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Swim Team Banquet



Definition: a banquet in which my kids have next to no interest.

Now we did have allot of hype leading up to said banquet involving much agonizing over what outfits to wear and tears when a certain someone found she had outgrown her white dress shoes but the actual event, not so much.

We did have limited rapt attention, right up until City County ribbons were located and trophies received.




Then they were out of there, off to roam the halls of the Club. Maggie wasn't even too too put out by the fact that her ribbon for backstroke was nowhere to be found. The thrill it seems, is gone. I did have a sweet Mom offer to give us one of her family's ribbons for Maggie, though I did point out that they, being quite the swimming family, would be unlikely to have a 6th place, even in the gold time category.

But in the weirdest of ways, our team coming in 2nd place at City County and for the season seems to have renewed their interest in actually swimming. I heard them this morning plotting about away Winter swim meets. I had previously told Morrigan she could practice this Fall and not compete if she wanted and she was thrilled at the prospect. When I mentioned this to her yesterday, she said, "Well maybe I'll compete for one more year. They need bronze swimmers too." I should have recorded it so I could play it back when she complains about practice!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Don't Really Know Any Croquet Terms So It Is Tough To Have A Clever Title


I was especially glad we were  home early from City County so I had a chance to rest up before heading over to Kate & Rob's for a croquet party! It was about a hundred degrees in the shade but we didn't let that stand in our way.

What did stand in the way of my partner and myself doing well were the two bourbon slushes I had before the game. Though I may well have been just as inept at the game either way. 



After our defeat, I relocated to enjoy the cool indoors. Kate made an excellent dinner which was coupled with great conversation. (Though that conversation did include more references to adults swimming next year. Yipes!) And I wisely steered clear of any additional bourbon slushes.

City County Day Two: Better Depending on Your Perspective



Morrigan rallied from her tears on Friday to return to the City County swim meet in good spirits. Butterfly, her favorite, was first up. She placed 10th in the bronze division which meant 11 points and, most importantly, garnered her a ribbon, her first for City County.

Maggie also swam the butterfly though she had the misfortune of having a strokes and turns judge who thought she was officiating for the Olympics and disqualified her and two other RCC swimmers in the event, all of whom have swam many, many legal butterfly races. I doubt she is a reader but just in case she is, I need to address her directly.

Lady, I went back and watched a video a friend took of this race. I don't see how you knocked all these girls out. (By the by, Tim, who has a little more authority on this matter than me, agrees.) So for the sake of not crushing the spirit of 4, 5, and 6 year olds, I need to recommend that you dial it back a few notches. Certainly, I don't think you abandon all the rules just because these girls are young but this is not the freaking Olympics you Nazi judge.

Phew, I feel a little better. Luckily, Maggie took it extremely well. Morrigan also swam the breaststroke and placed 13th bronze earning some additional points. She felt like she contributed and also was, naturally, happy that she earned more points than her sister for the day.

As neither girl was swimming the long fee, we were out of there by 9:30! And everyone left happy.

I wish I could explain to the girls that some of my proudest moments weren't necessarily just the ones where they earned the best times. I still remember Morrigan's first race last year where she was swimming a 25 Free. She was so slow, might have taken 50 seconds or more, that they almost started the next heat while she was still in the water. But when she made it to the end of the lane, she climbed out and asked Kirsten, "Did I win?" Not wanting to be too brutally honest, Kirsten told her, "You did great!" And then she came running over to me, smiling ear to ear and cried out, "I did it! I swam 25 yards!"

Maggie had some real race anxiety this winter and refused to get in the water many times over. Finally, after bailing on several heats, she managed to dive in and swim. Sadly, it was butterfly and she was no where near legal. But she swam. As she was grinning and rushing over to me, her coach frantically told me, "Don't tell her she was DQed!" knowing that we shouldn't wreck the moment. But Maggie was happy, she had overcome that paralyzing fear and raced.

These were times my heart felt so full I thought it might burst. So I hope they will know that while I am happy when they score well, what I want more is for them to achieve the goals they set and be happy with their performance.

And in spite of tears this weekend, they are already talking about next year when they think the whole family should swim. God help me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

City County Swim Meet: The Good, The Bad and Nothing In Between

Ever the roller coaster, it was the last swim meet of the Summer: City County. We headed out at an unreasonably early hour to join the controlled chaos. Not making many of the rookie mistakes of swim meets past, I remembered all vital gear including: chairs, towels (one for each event,) pen, highlighter, sharpie, water, food, money and several time killing electronic devices. I even have the lingo down, asking how much a heat sheet was as opposed to calling it  "that book thing" which drew mockery from swim vets last year. But on to the actual events.

For Maggie, it was all good.



In the 25 Backstroke, she placed 6th gold garnering the team 55 points. In the 25 Free she placed 7th silver for an additional 34 points. The points awarded are higher at this meet than the weekly ones and she was (rightly) pretty pleased with herself. As the first ten places in each time category get ribbons, she'll have those waiting for her at the awards banquet too.

Morrigan had a tough day.


I have to preface that I was proud of her. She just wasn't so happy with herself. She was 13th bronze in the 25 Backstroke. Eight points, no ribbons. She is finally in silver times for freestyle but was number 38 in that category. No points, no ribbons. And it was round about when she saw her second time that she noticed her sister's performance which didn't help matters. Then the 100IM. Three seconds into the race, disqualified. One of her coaches didn't think she had been disqualified so we waited to see the results that were, in the end, heartbreaking for Morrigan.

She cried all the way home, intermittently ranting about how unfair it was that her sister got silver and gold times, ribbons and more points. Naturally I countered with the fact that it just was and she couldn't get mad at her sister for doing well. And added that every point counted and I was proud of her improved times. I might as well have been speaking Chinese.

It kind of sucked. Morrigan was inconsolable and I had to severely temper any enthusiasm towards Maggie so as not to make it worse. [Don't worry, she got big hugs and cheers when we were alone.] Tomorrow we are back at it for Butterfly and Breaststroke. After which, Morrigan announced, she is retiring from competition. I'm hoping she'll have a good last day. On the plus side, for Morrigan anyway, Maggie is only swimming butterfly and is slower at that stroke so she might not outperform her sister. I'm just hoping she can place in one event so we don't have to cry all the way home tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Art Camp


Ah but wait you say, that is not a picture of Art Camp at all! True, but I really like pictures with my posts and I didn't have the foresight to take one today at pick up. So we'll all pretend they are not at the pool and I'll remember my camera tomorrow. Deal?

When I picked them up I asked what they did at camp and the immediate reply was "Things you won't let us do at home!" Based on the plaster mess yesterday and today's high volume of non-washable paint, I'd say they were dead on.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just in Case You're Wondering Where She Stands...

The girls are going to a half day art camp this week that my friend Amy brought to our attention. Naturally, we are carpooling as well. As I sent the girls out to her car this morning, I was this close to reminding them not to talk politics. Like so many of my friends, as I attract liberals like moths to flame, Amy and I tend to be on opposite sides of the political fence. And being the completely reasonable right-wing extremist I am, I've found that there are topics, well topic, politics, that we're just better off leaving to the sideline.

Anyhoo, I got a call not too long after Amy dropped them off and wouldn't you know that politics came up not a half damn mile from our house. Something like this:

Morrigan: Are you liberal?
Amy: Well, yes, I think I generally am.
Morrigan: Well then our neighbor won't let you pick apples from his tree. It's for conservatives only. [Said neighbor is a fairly conservative guy and once made some negative remarks about a neighbor's yard sign for a Democrat candidate.]
Megan: What's a liberal?
Morrigan: Liberals are evil.

Motherf*cker.

At which point Amy, rightfully so, shut down the conversation. Now, Amy knows me well enough to know that I'm not teaching my kids to say things like that. Regardless, I apologized profusely. And certainly, I was glad to know Morrigan did say it so we could have another talk about how what we disagree with the left's ideas and by the way quit name calling dammit.

Morrigan was nonplussed. Her reaction to my telling her not to say liberals are evil was, "Well, they are."

Again, motherf*cker.

Insert here a LONG conversation about ideas versus slander and name calling and an eventual detente with agreements not to call anyone evil and to refrain from political discussions in general unless cleared in advance by me.

Ever trying to escape blame, Morrigan threw in at the end that it was Maggie who brought up the topic. I commented that didn't jive with the story I heard and asked Mags what she said. Maggie replied, "I  invited Megan to pick apples once they were ripe." Clearly, Maggie was the instigator!

Maybe they can talk about religion tomorrow. Or abortion. Or flag burning. We've got three more days of camp. There have to be enough volatile topics for the remaining carpool rides.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great Wolf Lodge


One of the benefits for the kids to being on swim team is the annual team trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. Last year I didn't dare go as Tim was working and we only had one truly water-safe child. Seeing as both girls are now better swimmers than me and Eion can (kind of) swim, I was out of excuses so we went.


And it didn't disappoint. The girls were able to ride all the rides, even the Howlin' Tornado, and E could ride everything but that, so we were going non-stop.

We had one small incident when Eion was on this:


Apparently, he fell off and the lifeguards felt he was struggling and jumped in to "save" him. When they asked him to take them to his Mom, he bolted, yelling, "I'm a good swimmer!" Eventually they found me and said that he would have to wear a lifejacket for the duration of our visit and be with me the whole time. These people were clearly not familiar with my parenting style. We put a jacket on for show, removing it as soon as said over-reacting pool enforcer was out of sight. I just told E to stay out of that pool unless he was with me. Worked out just fine, thankyouverymuch.


We had a Kid Kamp room, about which they were very excited. After a long day, we were all out in no time flat.

Next day was more water fun. I had, foolishly, made a promise that we could go to the gift shop. The girls said they wanted charms for their bracelets. This was reasonable. What they went after when no charm was available was not. Eion asked for the first thing he saw, a shirt. Saving me the trouble, the girls shut him down reminding him, "The only thing we are allowed to represent for is the Club." Then the lot of them proceeded to ask for all manner of crap including $7 silly bands which are identical to the $2 silly bands at our local 7-11. Simply unable to stomach shelling out $20+ for items likely to end up in the garbage within a few weeks, I hauled them out empty handed.

As luck would have it, there was little resistance.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Last Swim Meet Monday



Last night was the final Monday meet of the Summer season and the last night to qualify for a CIty-County event. It was Butterfly and Backstroke all around.



Morrigan placed 2nd bronze for both. We were hoping her love of Butterfly might pull her into silver but  no such luck. But you could tell it was her favorite stroke as she (seriously) smiled all the way down. Her breathing and efficiency might improve with a less jovial stroke but she looked so darn happy that I wouldn't even recommend it.




Maggie won 1st silver for Butterfly, cutting 8 1/2 seconds off her time, and 2nd silver for Backstroke, adding 5 seconds. Her Backstroke had a very serpentine quality to it last night which baffled me. The last time she swam this race, she was straight as an arrow and beautiful form. Last night she couldn't go 3 strokes without hitting a lane line. Tim, a more experienced swimmer than I, really, who isn't, said that once you go on tilt it is just hard to straighten out and you can keep over-correcting. But she still did great. And she was very pleased that she earned more than twice as many points for the team as her sister.

At the end of the meet they had the "open" events where you could qualify for an event for which you had previously been DQed. Morrigan was determined to complete the 100IM. I was more than a little worried when I saw our friend Cindy, who was timing in her lane, going over the order of the strokes with her, repeatedly, before the race. But my fears were unfounded and she did great. A roar of applause and cheers broke out when she did her two hand touch after the Breaststroke (which was what knocked her out last week.) I have no idea what her time was. I do know that she set herself a goal, achieved it and was mighty proud of herself. Rightfully so.

The Summer season has been pretty good for the  girls. Maggie, having made massive strides, is all about Winter swim team. Eion, wanting to be like his sisters, can't wait to join this Fall as well.

Morrigan, in spite of continued improvement, didn't meet with the success her sister did. She wanted to quit. Now, I don't want to make the kids do things they hate but if I let her quit, she will do ZERO physical activity and just curl up with books all day long. I understand where she's coming from because I was that girl. But having moved on from being that girl, I know her life will be vastly improved if she stays physically active and I don't want her to wait as long as I  did to find that out. So I sold my soul to the Devil. I promised Morrigan that if she continued to practice with swim team (no meets required after City-County,) I would take swim lessons and get legal in all four strokes. The prospect of my humiliation seemed to be enough so we have a deal, albeit a terrifying deal for me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rinse and Repeat



I know I get a little lax in the Summer about posting. It's a fine line. I can post all the time but I have this feeling that the storyline, "And we went to the pool again" would tire quickly. In the end, most of my Summer posts are just that anyway, only lest frequent.


That being said, while Tim enjoyed the hospital, the kids and I spent the majority of our weekend at the pool.


When Morrigan wasn't in the pool, she was tearing through the Twilight series. She finished all four books in five days. As I was re-reading them to ensure they were acceptable for almost nine year old consumption, her pace overtook me. I finally gave up trying to re-read the whole series and skipped to the last book which I remembered, correctly, was the one that has the most mature content.


**Spoiler Alert** If you have not read the books and are planning to, I am going to spoil the ending right now. So these books were written by a woman who is a Mormon and the raciest thing happening before the final book is smoldering looks and kissing, which isn't even French kissing. But in the last book, Bella marries her vampire love, Edward (which was good news for Morrigan who declared herself Team Edward early on) and they went on a honeymoon. Now their marriage consummation was (in the words of an Entertainment Weekly reviewer) written "with the decorum of a Victorian schoolmistress." Seeing as we previously had discussed that "rolling around naked with boys" leads to pregnancy, I thought we were in reasonable waters. Though I could tell when she reached that section of the book seeing as there was endless giggling.

In the end, her favorite part was the birth of the vampire-human baby, complete with vampire teeth aided c-section. Taking after her mother's love of horror I suppose.

Sunday, the kids boycotted the pool which was ok by me. I cleaned the house, ironed, caught up on the kids' scrapbooks, did laundry and watched the devastating World Cup Finals. Hmm, that story really isn't much more interesting than the we went to the pool one. I'm going to need some new material.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

15 Years



Do you remember when you were a kid and every month seemed like forever? The space between birthdays and holidays stretched out endlessly. Well then all of a sudden time sped up. There you are, 23 and getting married. The next thing you know, it is your 15th anniversary. Happily for me, I remembered this one as I forgot the 10th (until Tim reminded me.)


When we got married, we were young and broke. Tim was still in residency and I worked at a bank making next to nothing. The wedding, as a by product of our poverty, was largely a home made affair.


My Mom & I spent the winter making table arrangements and doing anything we could in advance. Tim & I had booked the reception at a new place that had yet to get its liquor license so we were allowed to bring in our own. Which led to a more than fun alcohol shopping trip with my Dad in Indiana (cheaper liquor taxes.)


We lacked funds for a "real" photographer, so I paid my brother's friend a few hundred bucks to take pictures with my camera. In the days before digital, this was a seriously risky proposition. But I can't say that I regret it.

And it was one heck of a party.




(Yes, that's Tim, damn near catching the bouquet.) As I am sure is the case with all brides, the night went by in a flash. And we were lucky enough to have sweet friends who saved us from spending our wedding night in our newly-rented apartment by booking us a hotel room. (We were really, really broke.)

While I may have had an amateur photographer, a DJ rather than a band, buffet rather than sit down, and homemade centerpieces, I didn't skimp on the really important thing. I married a husband who is priceless. And I've lived happily ever after since.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bittersweet

Swim meet Monday was swim meet Tuesday this week as Monday was a holiday. We were at our biggest "rivals," Hunting Hills CC. I have to qualify rivals since I find it very hard to get worked up over a competition against a Club where I am friends with as many people as I am at my own. But it does make for a great evening catching up with all the people you haven't seen much of since school got out.

For team McK, it was a roller coaster ride. First came the highs.




Morrigan, for the first time ever, swam a 25 Free and got a silver time. Granted, it was an eighth place silver, does not garner a ribbon, and gained zero points for the team but she finally busted out of bronze. She looked so happy.


Next up was Maggie-pie who swam her 25 Free to a 4th place gold! While she was a twee bit bent to be in 4th again, she seemed placated by the fact that she earned a ton of points.

So far, all smiles. Except for possibly the boy,


who wanted to leave since he peed his pants. Sorry son. Tonight, you get to learn about public shame.

And then it all went to hell.


Morrigan was swimming the 100IM (25 Butterfly, 25 Back, 25 Breast, 25 Free.) This is seriously something I think I could never do. And she looked good. And she wasn't in last place. And legal. Right up until she did a one hand touch for the breaststroke. DQed. While I was still thrilled with the fact that she finished, she was devastated, crying under her towel for at least a half hour. She eventually rallied, but it ruined her night. On the plus side, she is determined to do it next week so she can swim the event at City-County.

Next up for heartbreak, Maggie.


Last night was her final chance to qualify for breaststroke for City-County. (Three DQs and you are out.) And she was out almost immediately. When she got out of the water, the sweet judge very gently told her what she did wrong. Apparently not trusting the judge, she turns to me and asks "Was I legal?" forcing me to deliver the bad news.


I felt a little like that too Maggie.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy 4th of July!


 

Alright, I am a day late but let's not pick nits. Tim & I were busy this weekend with poker (we lost) on Friday and dinner and a movie with friends on Saturday. Having logged allot of pool time last week, we took Saturday off, after swim practice, and laid low at home. But Sunday, we were ready to go. Roanoke was blessed with great weather and we were early arrivals at the Club for the party. 




The kids swam for nearly six hours straight before we dragged them out, knowing we needed down time before the fireworks. Diving was especially popular. That and going to the bottom of the deep end to retrieve toys. Maggie must have dove down there 50 times yesterday.







As luck would have it, a really great spot to watch the fireworks is right up the street from us. It's a little different as you are above many of the fireworks but a great view anyhow. Ann & Hans came up with their out of town guests and we set off down the block. The prime spot is located right by two neighbors with whom we are friendly and they invited us up directly. And the best part? When it was all over, no crowds. We just walked five minuted home. It was a happy 4th.

PS To the City of Roanoke: While I greatly enjoyed the display, I have to wonder why the meals tax had to be increased to pay for education yet we still had the funds for such a show. I think the convention centers, restaurants and their patrons might have found a decreased fireworks display a better option than cutting education or raising taxes. Just sayin'.....

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Ride On



The last day of horseback riding camp there is always a horse show in which the kids are judged on what they learned during the week. And while it may make me a very bad Mommy, I would rather be just about anywhere but there. It's nothing personal to my sweet girl, but I am not at all a horse person and I find the whole exercise painful.


But you can see from the photographic evidence that I did indeed go. (Evidence from recently returned, repaired camera. Hooray!) I knew it was going to be a "fun" morning when I looked at the program and Morrigan was dead last in the lineup. So it only took about 2 hours of sitting on the ground watching other people's kids before she was up. I really have to remember a chair if Morrigan goes back next year.  And a big thanks to the people who remembered their chairs but opted to take the bench instead, leaving their chairs folded and rested against the back of the bench.

While they said upfront that not every kid would get a first place ribbon, they went out and gave 95% of them first place.


Including my own daughter, whose horse took a detour and nibbled on some flowers in the middle of her judging. Again, not a horse person, but I am pretty sure that isn't what is supposed to happen.


The kids got to choose their own competition level. Morrigan chose Walk on a Rail which was surprising since the prior year she was several levels up, Walking, Trotting and Cantor on Lunge. Clearly, the camp fee was money well spent. But on the bright side, she had lots of fun. And I my guilt about not letting her ride year round was assuaged. She was so enthusiastic last year that I thought we might have found "her sport." The massive expense and inconvenience of said sport was an insurmountable obstacle but I still felt bad about denying her an athletic endeavor at which she might excel. Seems success at this sport is about on par with other sports we've tried. So that's good, right?