Category Archives: Summer 2014

Swimming in the USA, Summer ’14

This past summer, the kids and I traveled to back to the USA for eight weeks, our plan was to visit family and friends, but our main goal was to re-connect with our Hudson Wisconsin coaches and compete in some competitions. Our transition to swimming in Singapore has been difficult, and the kids were desperate to get in the water with their coaches Jen and Bob.

With such a short time frame to work with, we decided to schedule in as many swim competitions as possible. We landed in Minnesota on June 7th, and the boys were at the University of Minnesota at 6:30 am on June 8th. They were exhausted, jet-lagged but thrilled to be back in familiar swim territory with their Minnesota teammates. I knew better than to sign up Maria to swim, that girl was all about seeing her friends, and me? well, I was so jet-lagged it was a miracle that I didn’t fall asleep in some random stairwell somewhere in the Natatorium.


The rest of the summer went much the same way … early morning swim practices and afternoon swim practices as well. If the kids weren’t at practice, they were busy with friends. Weekends we were at competitions. It was a rush of busy-ness, and the kids were totally in their element. I loved every single second of it!!

Our second meet was at the University of Iowa for a “Swim Pink” fundraising meet for Breast Cancer.

Shane @ Swim Pink

Here is a selfie of Tina and I .. she is mom of Michael, and she is the ultimate swim mom, full of grace and humility, despite her son breaking 70+ USA National Age Group Records.


From there we went to Eau Claire Wisconsin,


Shane and my dad chilling out poolside between races:

My boys!

then back to Iowa for Speedo Sectionals,



back to the University of Minnesota for the State Championships,


and then to Oklahoma for a zone meet. Shane did well at all of his meets, but his 100 Freestyle win by out touching his competitor was the most exciting for me. It was such a close race!


Shane earned the High Points 2nd Place Award for the 13/14 boys, representing Team Minnesota.



A couple photos of Maria ( who gave permission to post photos as long as you cannot see her face. Really Maria??) and Cale:






And finally, one last selfie! Wendy and I were supposed to be taking pics of our daughters posing together, but we were sneaky and took a selfie of ourselves instead. We’re like that!



Summer 2014 in the USA

June 5th was the last day of school for Maria, Shane & Cale, and on June 7th we were on a flight home to the USA. After a 24 hour commute, we were so excited to be on American soil that I thought my kids would kids would kiss the ground. From the airport we ordered from Papa Johns, our favorite pizza ever, all of us craving a thick crust pizza. We sent our 12 suitcases home with a hired driver, and off we went, straight to Super Walmart for supplies, eating our pizza in the car!

Yes, I had troubles driving, in my jet-lag groggy daze, I could hardly remember which side of the road to drive on, constantly turning on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signals. After some screams from the kids and a few panicky moments, I felt like I had things in control, despite driving at 70 mph for the first time in a year. In Singapore, the fastest you can LEGALLY drive is 90 kmp, which is about 55 mph.


I can neither confirm nor deny that I have drive faster than 90 kmh in Singapore. Just sayin’.

It was so nice to get back to our home, only to quickly realize two things:

1. The mice had moved in while we were out. I never saw a real live mouse, but I felt like I spent a good part of my summer cleaning up after him (and all his friends). Apparently our mouse-renters are completely immune to poison, traps, and all the other ways I tried to get rid of them. In the end, I do believe I lost the war with them, and will let Jazz and Jayda take care of the them when we return in June.


2. Our old barn had collapsed from the sheer weight of the snow during the winter (we knew this) but after looking through the rubble we realized the basketball hoop was crushed. I then spent the next three days putting together a new hoop for them. I mean, we couldn’t have two 13 year old boys going 8 weeks without playing basketball, could we? It literally took three days to put this thing up, and I only had these parts left over:



Anyhow, our summer experience can be summed up into the following:

55 Days in the USA

35 trips to Dairy Queen for Blizzards & Peanut Buster Parfaits

21 Days with my dear mum

18 Days of Swim competitions

17 visits for with Dr. Jay Wanken, the best chiropractor in Hudson WI! Will write more about him in another post … stay tuned!!

14 nights in hotels

10 new ear piercings (between myself, mom, niece, and daughter … it was girl bonding in it’s finest)

6 days with my beautiful niece

5 Rental cars (and only ONE was returned with bumper damage, one curbside rescue due to the keys inside the locked car, and one near emergency when the door wouldn’t shut and Coach Jen had to jimmy-rig the door with a bungee cord)

4 visits to Dr. Jacob Lang, Maria’s eye physician. She adores him, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about her. He saved Maria’s eye, literally!!

4 days with ice cold well water (tankless water heater went kaputt and we had to wait for a new mother-board to be shipped in. I had to boil water on the stove, no kidding)

3 Solid days assembling basketball hoop

2 new tattoos

1 black bear in the yard

1 broken toe

The kids had countless sleepovers, there was a constant stream of kids coming and going at my house, even a surprise party for Maria. There was kayaking, tubing on the river, air-soft gun wars, a day at Valley Fair Amusement Park, drive-in movies, numerous trips to the Mall of America, dinners with our swim coaches, a 75th birthday celebration with my Dad, visiting with my sister and my five nephews (yes, she has FIVE boys), and even a bit of poison ivy rash for me.