Ingrid had her high school championship meet this past weekend at Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster, PA.
We were there last December for another meet where, as luck would have it, both her high school team and Kristofer’s club team were swimming.
Kasen, Gretchen and Marit came with me to watch the meet in December. They had fun, especially in the hotel pool, but since I was one of the chaperones for Kristofer’s team, there wasn’t a whole lot of free time for me to do stuff with them.
This bummed Marit out especially, because she has a little bit of an obsession with the Amish.
She loves the Amish way of life.
She loves being outside and working and helping and being with other people.
She doesn’t love cell phones or iPads or even TV all that much.
She has no interest in social media.
And all she wanted when we were in Lancaster in December was to see a real live Amish person.
I didn’t have much time to go exploring then, and while there is a big Amish population in Lancaster County, there’s not a big Amish population right where F&M is.
But on the very last day of the meet in December, we actually saw a genuine Amish person driving down the road near the meet in a horse and buggy.
I thought Marit was going to explode.
Knowing Ingrid would be back at F&M in February, and knowing I’d have much more free time at this meet, I told Marit we could come back and do some serious Amish exploring.
Kasen didn’t want to come this time around – only the girls wanted to go – so on Thursday night, Gretchen, Marit and I packed up the car and headed to Lancaster.
By the time we got to the hotel, unpacked the car, and settled in, it was almost midnight.
The meet started at 9 the next morning, so we were up at 7:30 to get dressed and have breakfast and then we headed to the pool which was about ten minutes from the hotel.
There is a lot of sitting in really hot bleachers at swim meets, and even if you are a swimmer and understand what’s going on, it can be long and tiring and kind of boring.
This meet is a trials/finals meet. You swim your events in the morning, and then the top 24 times from the morning session come back to swim at night at finals.
We had about five hours in between trials and finals on both days.
After trials on Friday morning we were all really tired since we were up so late the night before, so we decided to just head back to the hotel and take naps and chill out.
We’d go on an Amish adventure on Saturday.
At finals, there are three groups of 8 swimmers, or 3 “heats”: the “A” final, the “B” final and the “C” final for each event.
The C final is the 17th-24th place finishers from the morning. They swim in the first heat at finals.
The B final (9th-16th times from the morning) swims second.
The “A final” – the top eight swimmers from the morning – is the 3rd heat.
When you qualify for the A final, you get to walk out.
The top eight swimmers are lined up behind a person carrying a card with the name of that event on it (like a ring girl in a boxing match).
Usually the person with the fastest time from the morning gets to pick the song the top 8 swimmers walk out to.
They start walking at the far end of the pool, down the side, and then they line up behind their block.
The song the number 1 seed picks is blasting over the loudspeaker and swimmers are lined up along the side of the pool cheering for the top heat.
It’s really fun and really exciting.
I volunteered to work at finals, and Marit and Gretchen were able to be down on deck with me.
And Marit got to be the card girl both nights at finals.
Ingrid was in the walkout group for all of her events.
So it was pretty cool for Marit to be able to walk her older sister out.
(Gretchen was also the walk out girl for a couple of events but she was feeling a little shy about it, so she decided to let Marit take over).
Ingrid swam great, and it was pretty awesome to be down on deck with her.
Being able to watch Ingrid just having fun and really enjoying the meet was the best.
And it was pretty special to be able to share this experience with all my girls.
So the meet was awesome.
And so was the rest of the weekend.
I did a little research on Wednesday before we left for the meet.
In December I promised Marit I would find some Amish people for her and I had to deliver.
Our hotel was about 20 minutes from Bird-in-Hand, PA.
Bird-in-Hand is right in the heart of Amish Country.
I surprised Marit and Gretchen with a buggy ride.
Marit was beside herself.
Abe’s Buggy Rides was awesome.
They’ve got a few animals there.
We hung out on the swings while we waited for our ride.
Our driver’s name was David.
He has 13 kids and 57 grandchildren.
He drove us around the countryside.
We saw some cows lying down on the ground.
“What do you call cows lying down on the ground?” David asked Marit.
“I don’t know, what do you call them?” Marit answered.
“Ground beef,” said David with his German accent.
“He reminds me of Papa,” Marit said.
Even Amish grandpas tell Dad jokes.
He told us about the buildings we drove past.
He told us his favorite cereal was Honey Nut Cheerios.
He told us about the five week cross country trip he took with five of his friends to California when he was a teenager.
It was SO MUCH FUN.
After our buggy ride we went down the road to the Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market.
We did a little browsing.
Then we ate lunch at the counter of the little lunch place they have there.
It reminded me of Woolworth’s back in the day.
After lunch we walked across the street to the Bird-in-Hand Creamery.
We ate some whoopie pie ice cream, and we bought some whoopie pies to go.
Then we drove around the countryside.
We saw an Amish one room schoolhouse.
Some beautiful old buildings.
And so many beautiful farms.
Marit was in heaven.
So was I.
We saw dozens of Amish buggies on the road.
I definitely delivered on the Amish people.
When we got back to the hotel that night, we broke out the whoopie pies.
They didn’t last long.
When we were on our way home yesterday Marit said to me, “Mom, THANK YOU SO MUCH. Yesterday was probably the most fun day of my entire life.”
It was one of the most fun days of my life, too.
And we can’t wait to go back.
How sweet to have such a wonderful time with your girls!
I too lol e the Amish. You were so great to make sure it happened. Wonderful memories were made👍❤️❤️🙏🙏
Love this! <33