Sunday, July 25, 2010

They Did It!!!

Oh. My. Gosh. What a weekend!!!

We just got back from Finals in Mankato. We're exhausted, stinky, sweaty, tired and totally thrilled! This was Will & Maddie's last chance this season to get qualifying times for the State Championship meet next weekend. They've been sooooo close for the past couple months, but just haven't been able to get over that proverbial hump.

I'm not sure if it was their swim taper, the outrageous amount of money I spent on their suits, or just their sheer determination and will power that pushed them to the point of success...but this was definitely their weekend to shine!

Just a little background so you can "appreciate" the videos (and so one day I can look back and relive great memories): Saturday morning, the kids both swam their 50 Freestyles; going into their races super-close to state-cuts. They both shaved some time, but in the end, each came out empty-handed. Their coaches were able to enter them into a "time-trial" at the end of the meet session. A time-trial is a special "second-chance" they give to swimmers who are really close to meeting a standard at a finals-type meet.

Time-trials are often mixed heats. This means that there is a combination of gender, age, and even events during the same heat. Well, chance would have it that Will & Maddie ended up in the same heat. Crazy - - I know! They've never really "raced" each other before, outside of practice. Needless to say, they were both entirely thrilled by the prospect of beating each other. In the video below, he is in Lane 1 (far left at the start) and needed a 32.59 for his Champ time. She is in Lane 4 (middle of the pool, far right at the start) and needed a 32.39 for hers.

It almost looks like he was winning. But in the end, she totally SMOKED her time (and her brother) and ended up with a 31.80!!!

Poor Will...he was pretty bummed.

But don't worry, aside from a little case of injured-male-pride, it all turns out happy in the end!

This is Maddie's "historic" moment:

It's too bad we didn't get the end celebration on film. It was awesome! I can't even describe how proud I am of her. This is the first Champ time she's ever earned. She's been incredibly close, but just never made it before. What a great demonstration of how hard work and dedication pay off. Way to go, Maddie!!!

OK. So onto Part 2 of the exciting weekend. On Sunday morning, Will just barely missed his state qualifying times in the 100 Free (by 1.15 seconds) and the 200 Free (by .83 seconds). Definitely heartbreaking. (Especially after still feeling the burn of his loss to Maddie the day before!) At the end of the meet, he was lucky enough to be able to get into the time-trial again for another shot at that elusive 50 Free. Again, the magic numbers were 32.59.

He swam like a crazy-man and ended with a 32.24.

Here is Will's shining moment:

Wow! I'm so proud of you, Will...way to go!!!!!!!!

And as a side note, pay no attention to that crazy screaming mom that you hear in the background. I have no idea who she is... :)

So, tonight we'll all sleep well. Then this week holds a few more practices, a fun State-Team Party and then finally the State Championship Meet at the University of Minnesota on Thursday through Sunday. They'll each swim in 4 relays throughout the weekend and their 50 Freestyle events will be on Friday afternoon.

...and then we'll all enjoy a little time off, anticipating the rest and relaxation in the remaining summer days!

Monday, June 28, 2010

U of M Swimming

Another weekend. Another meet.

The kids swam at the U of M again last weekend. In the summer, when possible, they swim long-course-meters. So, remember that crazy, big place with 2 pools going the opposite directions, from a few months ago? Well, they just remove the bulk-head in the middle and it becomes...ta-da... an "Olympic" size pool.

Here is Maddie swimming her favorite, the 50 fly. I love to watch her do this. She's a pretty good butterfly-er and I think she makes it look pretty graceful and easy. Kind of makes me think, "hey...maybe I could do that..." But then I think again and come to my senses.

And here is Will swimming "the most fun race of my whole life!". It is his 200 Free and he just missed his state-qualifying time by 0.83 seconds. A fraction of a second is always a heartbreaker in this sport; but when you're looking at a fraction of a second in a long 2 and a half minute race. It bites extra hard.

This great swim kind of surprised both Bill and I. Several of the swimmers in his heat were 2 or 3 years older than him. I love the part near the end when Bill shockingly states, "holy cow!!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Since I've been slacking on the updates, you likely don't know about the newest addition to our household. It's a 4 inch long eyelash-crested gecko named Blinky. Will used his birthday money to purchase him and his accessories a couple weeks ago.

I know...I can read your mind and I'm guessing you may have a few questions about this new arrangement:
  1. It's a lizard because I'm allergic to all animals that have fur, hair, feathers, dander and spit. So, that kinda means that my poor kiddo's (and poor me) are stuck with amphibians.
  2. Will named him Blinky because he doesn't have eyelids. Instead of blinking, he just sticks out his long tongue and licks his eyeballs. Ironic, don't you think?
  3. Me. I'm the one taking care of him this week while the kids are at camp and Bill is traveling for work. Just me. Me, who nearly pees when that quick little thing moves in my general direction.

Here it is. Accessories and all...

And here is the instruction sheet that Will left for me. Who ever guessed that such a little thing could be so high-maintenance!

My favorite part of this sheet is the smiley face that he drew in the bottom right corner, right after he tells me that I'll need to provide a variety of baby food, crickets, and mealworms. He knows the effect that crickets and worms have on me. Hence the cute little smiley face...

It's not that he isn't a little bit cute, because I guess he is in his own special way. The thing that really bothers me about him is that he is so dang FAST! Seriously, he gets from here to there in the blink of an eye. You don't even know that he's going, then he's just gone. It's creepy.

For example, he moved from Will's hand... nearly up inside his shirt sleeve in a matter of 0.28 seconds.

Good thing that kid has cat-like reflexes! I go to mist the habitat, adjust the lighting, and feed him.

I think I'll choose baby food again...

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Full Car and a Quiet House

OK...don't have a heart attack.

I'm back.

Since the thought of trying to get all of you caught up on the past 6 months makes my head spin and my teeth itch, I won't even attempt it. You'll just have to accept the facts that 1) we've been just fine; 2) I've been feeling extremely un-creative; and 3) you really didn't miss too much excitement in the Gallagher house. So, no worries!

You would not believe how quiet my house is right now. Seriously. I think I can hear the clock ticking from downstairs. The kiddos are gone at swim camp at the University of South Dakota for the week. I'm sure they are having a blast, while I'm still trying to recover from the 12.5 hours driving in the car yesterday. I'm amazed at how exhausting sitting can be.

We definitely had a full car-load: 5 kids, 2 moms, 10 bags, 3 sleeping bags, 18 towels, 4 Target bags full of snacks, 2 yearbooks, and a large poster. Thank God they aren't staying longer than a week! I thought for sure we were going to bottom out while backing out of the driveway.

Here are the campers getting ready for the long ride...

Cozy kids!

"OMG!!! This is going to be so much fun!!!" (I'm pretty sure that's what they were saying here. Unless it was, "There is no way for us to get out! We're trapped by Speedo bags! Where is the emergency exit?? What happens if we have to pee?!?!?!")

For being so far away from home, the Sea Devils are represented by a pretty big group at USD this week!

So, you may be wondering what I'm up to all alone this week. I'm not exactly sure. But I do know that I will NOT be washing clothes every day. I will NOT be instructing people to clean their rooms. I will NOT be shuttling kids to practice at 6:15 in the morning. I will NOT be in constant search of the TV remote so I'm not forced to witness another episode of "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody."

I WILL, however, likely be texting my daughter like mad to find out how things are going. Hmmm, speaking of's 10:20. Shouldn't she be calling her mom by now???

Friday, January 22, 2010

Swimming at the U of M

Last weekend the kids had a meet at the U of M. This wasn't a "typical" meet. Swimmers needed to have a qualifying time in order to enter each event. This was a crazy-fun meet for a couple reasons.

For one, this was the largest meet ever held in Minnesota! There were over 1,300 swimmers participating. There were over 8,000 races held in 2 1/2 days. And there were teams from all midwestern states and from as far away as Colorado and even Florida.

The University of Minnesota Aquatic Center is an awesome venue. Fall/winter is our "short course" season, so they use 2-25 yard competition pools simultaneously and the diving well is used for warm-ups and cool-downs. (on the second video below, you get a glimpse of this HUGE facility).

We also got to witness Mallory Weggeman set a world record. What an amazing and inspirational swimmer. And what a great role model for all those young swimmers in attendance. WOW!

This video is Maddie swimming the 50 Free. Despite the short distance, she has been dropping time like crazy in this event over the past couple months. She is so close to breaking 30 seconds! In fact, only .91 seconds to go!! This is her personal best time.

This video is Will swimming the 50 free. He just recently broke 30 seconds. This was his second fastest time at 29.94! At the beginning you can see where he almost does a false-start. He's been doing that lately...almost gives me a heart attack.

Maddie had a big 6+ second time-drop in her 100 IM. She's a pretty well-rounded swimmer and this race suits her well. She likes it because she gets to do a little bit of everything, but Free and Fly are definitely her favorites.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Little Boy

Sometimes I look at him and I can't quite imagine the man he's becoming.

He's my little boy with a smooth, soft face.

He's my little boy with amazing eyebrows. Within hours of his birth, 11 and a half years ago, the nurse commented on his beautiful eyebrows.

How can these eyebrows not make your heart melt?

Mine is melting right now.

And how can I restrain myself when looking at his cute little smirk while he is fake-sleeping? It makes me want to scoop him into my arms and cuddle his smooth, soft face before it's transformed into something manly and abrasive.

And then right when I'm feeling all nostalgic and like life is just rushing by too fast, he does something like this to make me laugh and squirt pop out of my nose.

I love this kid.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I can't decide which is my favorite version...

Saturday, December 19, 2009


  • Well I failed the blog-every-day-thing in November. Spending the long weekend at my dad's in South Dakota put a kink in that idea. Oh well...blogging every day for those 3 weeks was some kind of personal best for me anyway.
  • Besides eat and sleep, the kids just swim, swim, swim. Seems like we haven't been as busy with meets this fall as we were last fall. I don't really mind - it's great to have some "off" weekend with not a whole lot going on. But doing the meet thing is pretty fun. The kids are having a great season so far. Will's coach referred to him as the "Energizer Bunny" at practice on Thursday. They swam a total of 7000 yards (yep...that's a 7 with 3 zeros behind it) and he just kept getting faster and faster. She wondered if he even got tired. (He assured me that he DID.) Maddie loves it too. She's a hard worker and is always up for socializing with her girls.
  • Bill and I did all of our Christmas shopping online, with 2 computers, and 1 credit card in about an hour and a half. Done! It rocked...
  • We found an alternative to Lasik surgery. Just get a really big plasma TV in your bedroom. You can watch without glasses. It's awesome!
  • Winter gets harder for me every year. Today I found myself taking pictures of the kids playing in the snow and building snow forts while inside my house using my zoom lens. I know it's pathetic. But I think I'm allergic to snow and cold. I just keep thinking about being in Hawaii next year at this time.
  • Will was nominated as student of the month at his middle school last week. Now we are proud owners of one of those bumper stickers. We still haven't decided whose car it will adorn.
  • There will be lots of excitement at our house for the holidays. Last week I hosted a girls weekday movie/brunch. I'm having our trauma department Christmas party here after Christmas. We're hosting the annual New Years Eve Party again this year. And then we'll have Bill's family over for a Christmas celebration the first weekend in January. We're totally getting our money's worth out of the tree we bought this year.
  • I've finally gotten back into a "reading habit" again. I bet it's been about 6 months since I've been able to read a book...not sure why? I finished Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol in about 3 days. And now I'm totally immersed in Eclipse (the 3rd in the Twilight series). I forgot how much I totally love mindless reading.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twilight Saga

I saw New Moon today with a group of friends. It was much better than the first one (Twilight) and it helped refresh my memory since I read the book so long ago. Now maybe I can start on the 3rd one. Maddie has been waiting for me to finish for months; she wants to have our own little book club about it.

Jacob is much more likable in the movie than I thought he was in the book. In print, he mostly just irritated me. OK, and I'll admit he's kind of a hottie. However, I'm still firmly planted with Team Edward.

There is just something about a skinny, pale, sparkling vampire...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


For those of you who didn't see it, this was the best part of SNL last night.

Even my kids were giggling like crazy...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


We went to the high school tonight to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I'm glad my kids loved's my favorite play/musical of all time!!

I wonder how many weeks it will take me to get those infectious songs out of my head?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Shot

I was just reading my sister Jill's blog about her daughter freaking out at the clinic when she was there to get a shot. FUNNY! Well, maybe not at that exact time. But it sure seems funny to me now...

And it reminded me a funny story of myself as a kid at the mature age of about 10. During my childhood in the 1970's and early 80's, it must have been fairly common to inject antibiotics in any kid who appeared to have a cold. (And we wonder why we have so many resistant strains of bugs out there now!!!)

Anyway, our small town doctor especially loved it. He would always give us a choice between taking 10 days worth of pink-tinged oral antibiotics or a single shot in the butt. I always wanted the sweet pink medicine, but mom usually opted for the shot. Something about "being easier" I think.

Yeah, right.

I developed quite a hatred/fear of needles back in those days. But I was able to deal fairly well with it for the most part. Until that memorable day in 1980. My dad just so happened to be in the hospital for something and I just so happened to have another cold. The clinic was located on the first floor of the building, while the inpatient beds were located on the second floor.

After hearing that my cold symptoms were just too severe for merely the oral pink medicine. The doctor told me a needed a shot. I started crying right then and there.

Yep, I was 10.

To console me, the nurse asked if I would rather have the shot done upstairs in my dad's hospital room. To which I quickly responded "YES." At least I knew the terrible poke would be delayed by a couple minutes while we gathered her supplies and we all trekked through the clinic and up the stairs to the hospital.

On the way there, as I was trying to contain my sobs, I was plotting a way to escape the pain. And I came up with a brilliant idea.

At least I thought it was at the time.

So, imagine the is this big, crying 10 year old kid lying across her dad's hospital bed. (God, I bet my parents were totally irritated with me right about then...) And just as the nurse is about the stick my rear end with the shot, I squeezed my butt cheeks together as tight as I possibly could. And hoped for the best.

The only thing I remember after the little "yelp" from the nurse was turning around and looking at her perfectly white, starched uniform was covered in sprinkles of blood and yellow medicine that must have shot back at her off my tightened gluteus maximus.

I have no memory of anything after that. But...I'm sure I got the shot. And I'm sure I got quite the lecture from my mom and dad. I can just about imagine what I would say if that was one of my kids acting like such a fool...

So, believe it or not, I'm a nurse these days. And I can honestly say that every single time I've ever given a shot in my entire career...this incident crosses my mind.

I wonder if that poor nurse remembers me?

God, I hope not.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are you loyal?

I'm very thankful for Leah's post tonight! As I sat down, I wasn't quite sure what topic I could pull out of the air, but there is was - something I've been thinking about lately:

Any thoughts?

I've been getting my hair done at Marc Daniel Salon for a little over 5 years now. It gets cut by Hannah and colored by Angie. I love them both... I love how they do my hair... I love hearing about the latest gossip...I love comparing stories about our kids...I love the salon...I love the cool concrete floors in the salon... I love the quirky little gifts they have on display...I love how they ask you if you want a gown and something to drink when you walk in the door.

But, it is so crazy expensive, I think my poor husband would have a heart attack if he knew how much this graying, over-processed, thick head of hair costs me (and him) to maintain.

As the prices go up, the thought of going somewhere else has crept into my mind. I've changed hairstylists many times in the past. But I've never had the nerve to explain why or to go back to the same salon but to a different stylist. Heck, I even try to avoid going to another place in the same city.

And then I get scared someone else won't know how to do my hair.
And then I feel guilty that I might hurt their feelings.
And then I look at those brilliant gray roots peeking through in the center of my head.

And then, once I can't deal with the fear, guilt and gray roots any longer...I pick up the phone and make another appointment with my girls.

No really...I'm not a wuss. I'm just LOYAL.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Their version of heaven...My version of hell

Daily blogging with an uneventful life is proving to be a real challenge for me. I hope you don't mind if we back-track a bit!

Bill and Will joined some other Gallagher boys (Paul, Ricky and Brian) several weeks ago for a weekend at "The Shack". And by "The Shack", I'm not talking about the book.

I know that I've told you about this before, but here are a few things to refresh your memory:
- just a bit northwest of Duluth
- lies deep within beautiful Lake Superior National Forest
- private, secluded and serene
- infested with mice
- held together with a winch in the attic that runs around the entire building
- accompanied by an outhouse with a glass storm door and skylight
- filthy
- stinky

In addition to (or should I say despite of) all these unique features, my two favorite guys just happen to LOVE this place.

Me? Not so much. Just thinking about it gives me an anxiety attack.

I have tried to understand their relationship with this place, but it truly escapes me. Maybe I have to think like a boy. Hmmmm...

Boy thoughts: Mmmmm. Fire. Fire's cool. I like to play with fire. I wonder how many things I can throw into the fire?

Boy thoughts: Ooooo...motorized vehicle...mud...trail through woods...

Boy thoughts: can I further optimize the effectiveness of this mouse-trap? With peanut butter and a drowning well, of course!

Boy thoughts: Dang. My wife/mom never lets me play with guns in our house.

OK...don't freak out. I'm told that these are just BB guns used to shoot the mice that escaped the fancy beer-can-peanut-butter-drowning-bucket-trap.

I'm told that they are being safe at all times.

I'm told that "it's the most fun place, ever!"

I'm also told that what happens at the shack, stays at the shack.

Gotta go... anxiety attack coming on.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Love Norwwex (this is not an infomercial)

I cleaned the house again today. This is the third time in 3 weeks. I think that part of my motivation for cleanliness may be my new-found cleaning tools.

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine started selling this stuff called Norwex. It's an antibacterial microfiber material that comes in all kinds of different forms (small cloth, dusting mitt, large window cloth, mop, bath towels, etc). You can't believe how much easier and faster it is to clean everything!!!! Even disgusting, nasty, filthy wood blinds. No kidding!

No more cleaning solutions. No more flying dust. Today, I scrubbed out a carpet stain that I've been staring at for over a year. Using only water and this miracle cloth!

Seriously amazing!!!!