Archive | May, 2012

A Boy After My Heart

31 May

This past weekend, my husband was out of town, and Little Man woke me up with his screams of “Momma! The sun is up!”

I did something I normally wouldn’t when the hubby is in the bed — I pulled him into bed with me for cuddles.

He is so very cuddly first thing in the morning. He was laying with his head on the pillow beside me, and looked over with the biggest smile, squeezed my shoulder and said, “I love you!”

Totally unprompted.

Then, last night, twice he looked at me and said, “I’m so glad you’re here.”

I’m filing those memories away for when he is a moody teenager. These truly are the fruits of my labor!

Public Service Announcement: How To Teach Your Kids To Swim

29 May

Anyone that knows me knows that I love swimming. I started on swim team at six years old, started teaching swim lessons at 14, and was a swim coach for three years. I was also a lifeguard for five years. So, yes, I’ve spent a lot of time at pools.

I believe that swimming was a tremendous gift that my parents gave me. It is my form of meditation, and a form of exercise I can carry with me into adulthood, and through two pregnancies and recovering from knee surgery. I definitely want to pass on the same gift to my children.

Swimming is our main activity together in the summer. Like yesterday, when we went to the pool and were immersed for three hours. Nothing makes me happier than sharing my love of the water with my kids.

What frustrates me, though, is watching how some other parents approach swimming with their children. Namely, when people put their small children in suits that have built in life jackets, built in floatation and water wings, or water wings.

At all of the pools I worked at, having flotation devices on your children was strictly prohibited. There was a good reason for that rule — putting children in flotation devices gives them a false sense of security in the water. They believe they can swim, and they do not learn the proper respect for the water. It also messes up their body positioning in the water.

Yesterday, I watched a woman who had her two year old in a life vest and water wings. The woman was in the water, but standing 3 feet from her daughter, saying, “look, you can swim!”

What I see is a two year old getting false confidence that could be deadly if she comes across a body of water while an adult isn’t looking.

What also drives me crazy is the parents that put their kids in flotation devices and then sit on the deck watching from afar. First rule of teaching your kids to swim: GET IN THE WATER. There is no replacement for adult supervision. Ever. Keep the flotation devices OFF of your children, and get in and hold them, teaching them how to kick, blow bubbles, hold their breath, and move their arms. It is really that simple. Those simple skills may take a while, but that is really what it’s all about.

Also have them practice grabbing onto the wall (doing the monkey walk to get to more shallow water), and getting out on their own (that’s right, without any pushes from the parent). It is my goal to ensure if my kids fall into a pool by accident that they won’t panic, will be able to turn around, grab the wall, and get out. I also drill into their heads that they do not get in the water without me. Period. My almost 3 year old will wait patiently on the step until I get to the pool.

I think it’s also important to get in and swim with your kids. Get your hair wet. Wear goggles and have underwater tea parties. Swim like a mermaid. I was at the pool yesterday, and for the majority of the time, I was the only parent in the water. So many women don’t want to get their hair wet or mess up their makeup. My advice to you: get over it! It is much more fun to just jump in completely than worry about every splash messing something up. I think my kids learn how to respect and enjoy the water because they see me doing it as well.

So what should you do with your kids? If they’re young, it’s all about imagination and play. Try ring around the rosy (you all fall down underwater and blow bubbles), host tea parties, go on lion hunts (or insert your favorite animal, going through obstacles like sinking sand, holes water falls, etc. on your quest), play tag. I buy my kids super cool pool toys each year (because they all seem to disappear by the end of the summer anyway). We have a shark, dive rings, kick board, etc. The kick board is strictly for kicking with my supervision. It is not a flotation device! I will not buy them anything inflatable besides a ball. The ball is only acceptable because they cannot rely on it to keep them afloat. They must rely on me or themselves.

I think getting kids goggles also makes a huge difference. I’ve found the brand Finis to be the most reliable against leaks. Goggles take away the strange sensation of water in your eyes, and also helps you to open your eyes underwater and feel comfortable.

There you have my words of advice. And for the record, I do own life vests for my kids, but those are saved strictly for our lake or ocean outings, where a wave or a sudden dip in the sand could pull them under. They never wear them in the pool.

After three hours in the pool yesterday, I taught my kids another lifeguard trick… When you’re chilled from being in the water so long, there is NOTHING that feels as good as laying on the hot cement. NOTHING. I had a moment yesterday where we all three were laying on the pool deck together, and I couldn’t help beaming, knowing that the tradition of swimming will live on in these two.

Phoenix Vacation Pics

23 May

Following up on my post about the trip to Phoenix last week, here are some pics.

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The Peacock Phenomena

22 May

Last week, I met up with my BFF from high school for a girl’s trip in Phoenix.

Why Phoenix, you ask? Well, we were mainly going off of airplane rates for both of us, and Phoenix was an affordable rate for both of us. I insisted I would not go to Phoenix any later than May, which turned out to be smart thinking.

Turns out Phoenix is having a heat wave. Temperatures reached 106 degrees while we were there. Phew, that is hot!!! Reno generally breaks 100 degrees a few days in the summer, so I’m not used to temperatures that hot.

But still, we were without kids, and without responsibilities for three days, which truly is heaven. We spent lazy time at the hotel pool, liesurely shopping, and hiking in the mornings. We also went out to eat sushi three times in three days. YUM.

On Friday night, we went out to the bars in Scottsdale. Scottsdale seems to have a freaky ratio of 8:1 for men to women. Lots of men, and not many women. I tell you, if you’re single, Scottsdale would be a great place to move (and much warmer than the alternative of Alaska, which also has a crazy ratio of men to women).

Anyway, it didn’t take long for us to observe something we had never seen in a bar. Suddenly, a man in a crowd would break out into a dance — waving his arms in the air, the running man, or even one man that did a spread-eagle cheerleader jump. They do this to get the attention of women. I guess when the ratio of men to women is so out of wack, the men have realized that they need to stand out in order to be noticed. It looks like some strange mating ritual. In fact, I actually saw one man doing an impression of a bird (though it looked a lot like a chicken dance).

What is even stranger is that it works. We sat back and watched women flock to the men putting on these strange peacock shows.

There were also men with keychain flashlights and glow sticks. They would wave them in the air, and women would flock to them like moths to a flame.

It was a highly interesting thing to watch. I had a brief conversation with one man who appeared to be in his 30s that was doing a peacock show, and he mentioned to me that he went to the bars every night from Tuesday through Saturday. My immediate response was, “you must not have a job.” But oh, no, he did. Just a male version of a bar fly.

There was another guy who had his own version of a peacock dance, where he went around insisting that the girls in the bar would smile. He’d come up and touch their faces and insist that they smile before he’d let them pass. We watched him do this over and over and over again.

But truly, the best thing about watching all the single people mill around and do their little mating rituals is knowing that I have a handsome man waiting for me at home. Every time I go to a bar, I’m reminded how thankful I am that I am now married and not having to put up with such rituals.

It was a fun trip, and I’m still in denial that it is over and I’m back to the grind. However, it did make for a sweet reunion with the family.

A Mother’s Day To Remember

22 May

For Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted the whole family to go to the beach at Lake Tahoe and take my kayak, which I haven’t been able to use for years (between pregnancy, a new baby, and then a knee injury, it has been over 3 years).

The hubby suggested we stop by Mt. Rose on the way to the beach so that Little Man could ski. Doesn’t everyone stop for a quick ski on the way to the beach?!

Anyway, we got to Mt. Rose, where there was now a creek down the main run, and JB walked with Little Man in the mud and slush to get him to ski. Little Miss and I stayed back, as we were dressed more for the beach than tromping through slushy snow.

There was much crying from Little Man, and he did two extremely short “runs”.

Then, we were finally off to the beach. It was a glorious day, and I immediately put the kayak on the lake and took off with Little Miss in my lap. Let me tell you, we’re mighty close to the weight limit on that kayak, as Little Miss is almost 60 pounds now. That meant we sat low, lots of COLD Tahoe water was leaking in, and the smallest movement from her made me fear we were going to tip. Let me tell you, the water in Tahoe this time of year is frigid, and I absolutely did NOT want to tip.

JB took Little Man out twice. On the second time, I was sitting in my beach chair with my head tipped back and eyes closed when I heard crying in the distance. JB was far enough out with the kayak that I couldn’t tell what was going on, but it sure looked to me like Little Man was the only person on the boat.

Turns out that JB had flipped the kayak trying to do some sporty turn around a buoy. They both went in (thankfully Little Man had a life vest on), and JB had put Little Man on top of the overturned kayak. From shore, I couldn’t see JB. The first thing that came to mind was the recent accident where a man and his 2 year old son drowned in a Washington lake while canoeing.

But I rationalized in my head that JB is a strong swimmer, and has done numerous open water swims in triathlons. Still, the former lifeguard in me really wanted to go try to save them or offer help. I valiantly took several steps into the water, and my reaction was BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! I then saw that two women had beached their kayaks right next to where I was standing, so I asked them if I could borrow them to go help my hubby. They obliged, and I tore out there as fast as I could (realizing their kayak was much sleeker and faster than mine). I arrived at our kayak to find JB in the water, pushing the kayak towards shore, and with a smile on his face. Little Man was still crying, but he was safe. We decided it was probably better to let JB continue pushing the boat, and my help wasn’t needed.

After this ordeal, we asked Little Man if he preferred kayaking (and tipping over into the lake) or skiing. His answer? Tipping over into Lake Tahoe. Ha!

Anyway, it was a glorious day, but I do think our kayak will soon make it to a Craigslist posting, and we’ll soon be buying a paddleboard instead (after the water warms a bit more)!

Keep On Moving

11 May

Recently on Facebook, this picture of the Jog-A-Thon at my school in the 1980s made an appearance:

(That’s me on the far left, one head taller than the other kids and looking over them at the action.)

The timing was ironic, as today was my daughter’s own Jog-A-Thon. She managed to walk 1.5 miles, and I joined her walking for half of it. It was a glorious Spring day in Reno, and the DJ was playing really good music.

That is, until they started playing 80s and early 90s music. It took all the restraint in me when they started playing MC Hammer’s Don’t Touch This not to bust out in the Running Man.

But my daughter wouldn’t have understood how funny that is, and she also would have been mortified, so I refrained. Instead, I took pictures so that I could post them on her Facebook wall in 30 years.

(Some day she will laugh that she chose to wear a purple tutu for her first Jog-A-Thon. She’s the one sitting in the front row towards the right of the picture in the tutu.)

Milestone Achieved!

4 May

I did it!  Wedding Weight achieved!  *doing the happy dance*

Next goal:  two more pounds until I was the weight when I met my hubby!