Homework for your swimmers

Tossing the ball back and forth in the yard, reading before bed each night...we all know that if we want our child to get better at something, they need practice. Well, how are we supposed to practice swimming without a pool?

My children have gone from pool-resistant to excited swimmers since they began at Goldfish Swim School in the fall. Even though they enjoy their lessons, I wouldn't say they are ready for the Olympic trials. We could use some work. With the sunny pool season finally in sight, maybe your children would benefit from some swim lesson homework, too,

I asked the Goldfish team what we could do at home, and several team members gave me some great ideas.
  • In the bath tub, you can carry over many skills from swim class:
Goggles: Larkyn experienced a major jump in confidence once she was comfortable wearing goggles, which allowed her to finally put her face in the water. From the Goldfish blog: "Studies show that wearing goggles while swimming improves balance in the water by 50%. The more comfortable the swimmer feels in the water, the faster the learning curve will be. Goggles can be worn in the bathtub and even around the house to get young swimmers comfortable wearing them."
"Watch this!"

Here she goes...

Bubbles! (and foot out because the Elsa band aid can't get wet. You know).

Celebrate!

Underwater Conditioning: In class, we use a little duck cup that is filled with water. We say "Rhys, ready, go!" as I pour water starting at his shoulders and eventually over his head to prepare him for dipping underwater. Big celebrations follow the splash over the head!



Blowing bubbles: We have difficulty with Rhys opening up his mouth with a giant smile as he jumps in, ending in him swallowing pool water. To prepare him for a closed mouth, we practice filling our cheeks with air ("catching a bubble") and actually blowing bubbles in the water. Even without water, your child can practice blowing out pretend birthday candles to gain breath control.




Kicking Legs and Pulling Arms  This is one of the first routines we practice in class. For babies, we pull their arms for them, getting them to completely cup their hands and move the water. It is fun for them to reach out and pull for special bath toys, too. When kicking, you want a straight leg with a slightly bent knee.

Sea Otter Float: This is where my kids are least comfortable. Neither one wants to get their ears wet, but learning to float on your back is an essential safety skill. Be there for them to support their head if they are afraid and don't push it if they aren't comfortable trying this. Gradually, their hands arms will move away from their faces as they try to cover their ears. Their arms should eventually be extended and treading water with their hands to keep their balance.

There are some fun and easy ways to support your swimmer at home!  Have fun and be safe...




February

We took a parents-only trip to Cleveland and had Baileys shakes. I repeat: Baileys. Shakes.


I had a pity party as I finished up Larkyn's valentines (aka: working mom guilt). And yes, she signed her own name 15 times (aka: teacher's kid).


We took some walks through the cemetery to the creek, which is probably not a creek at all, but runoff. Oh WELL, it is picturesque runoff.





Rhys finally got the fever we knew was coming every February. And we got our first try at Rhys + Augmentin. It = vomit, if you are wondering.


We took a trip to the courthouse for the sentencing of the man responsible for the accident in July. It was hard. Losing a loved one is the worst thing on earth, and adding a second family and the justice system magnified it about 1000%. It would take an entire post that I am a little too mentally exhausted to write.


We had some girl time that went off without a hitch until I set the self-timer and Larkyn had a nervous breakdown when I came running into the frame. NBD, that's why we have 2 kids; just grab a different one!



We took a road trip to Yellow Springs, founded as a utopian society and filled with masterful park benches and crocheted skull electrical poles. Oh, he sees a motorcycle.



We sold our first batch of shirts to raise money for my dad's favorite charity, Honor Flight Columbus. They are TOO CUTE and I hope you got one! If not, I hope you can get one next time around.


And finally, we had a fun morning at the Conservatory. I will be sad the day that they get bored going there, because every weekend brings free (if you're a member) and fabulous programming. And the occasional OMG THIS IS MY FAVORITE PHOTO moments.





I started writing for two blogs, Ohio.org and Columbus Moms Blog (not launched yet). My posts will go live in March. Both are useful blogs for parents in the area who are looking for stuff to do as a family.

I finally got a new phone to replace my shattered iPhone 5. Now that my fingerprints are successfully worn off, I can live a life of crime!

A day trip to Yellow Springs

We had indoor plans for my mom's birthday this weekend, but that all changed when we saw the 60 degree forecast for February 20th!  Whaaat?  I've been dying to visit the town of Yellow Springs forever and so has my mom, so we piled in the car with lots of iced coffee and iPads.

Our plans were to visit Glen Helen Nature Preserve and downtown Yellow Springs, but our plans seemed to be derailed at every chance. When we got to town, we saw big signs at the entrance of Glen Helen. The trails were "Closed until Monday" because of mud. I now know to check this kind of thing before leaving home, because they post it on their site. So, off to town we went...

A little advice: If you are going on a weekend, go EARLY. We had trouble finding parking, and when we left a few hours later, people were parked much further out than us.



Amazingly, the first store we found was a toy store. The selection of toys was high quality and the kids had a blast. You'll have to leave your stroller outside, as it is teeny inside and there are stairs. I think the person working was relieved when we left because of all the "fun" we had.  They each left with a random toy (a pony puppet that provided entertainment for the rest of the day, and a taco truck that is already missing).




Next, Dino's Cappuccinos for some (more) drinks and a blondie that will live in my dreams. I loved how there was seating all over downtown, so we just found a table and camped out for a while. In that short amount of time, my mom made a new friend who invented and sells vertical rain gardens, I saw more dogs than people, and when someone sneezed, 3 strangers would say "Bless you!" What a vibrant and friendly little place.













So, there was the toy store for the kids, gift and pottery shops for my mom, and clothing boutiques for me!  I could have spent about an hour more and a whole paycheck at Kismet, and Wildflower was gorgeous (but a bit more expensive and mostly winter stuff at the time). I will be back to both.



We got some picnic food from Tom's grocery and hung around for a bit. We planned to go to John Bryan Park in place of Glen Helen so that the kids could run around and "explore", like Larkyn hoped to do.



We found John Bryan, but their playground was nowhere to be found and no one knew what we were talking about. We were warned about muddy trails and some people suggested we keep driving to Young's, which sounded like a great way to end the day (ice cream, animals, and the play area!)



Ha!  Everyone in the Western half of Ohio had the same idea. It probably would have taken us an hour to get our ice cream, and the play area was not open for the season yet. So...I decided with all the plans that went awry, it was time to see the animals and go home.





Annnnnnd that ranks right up there with my top 10 favorite photos of these 2. We had a great trip. Next time, Yellow Springs is happening on a weekday and I will check to make sure everything is open for the season!

Mama and Mini Galentines Day Brunch

I'll take any excuse for a party, especially when it involves my good friends and their little girls. Larkyn and I tried to plan the party together, and it turned out pretty cute!


Each one of my friends brought some items to share, so our menu went something like this:


We had a small group of girlies, plus one gentleman of the house, who really doesn't care if everything is pink and tutus, as long as he gets a 'nack.  First up after everyone took off their snowy boots and cuddly hats...food!


I let the berries sit in a bit of sugar overnight and it made a huge difference. 


Jill's amazing cinnamon rolls balanced with Julie's savory asparagus and bacon quiches and the cheese and crackers that Mara brought. 

Hi, sprinkle face.

Both of mine tried to just take the middle bowl for themselves, like "oh no thanks on the rest, this is my snack mix right here..."



So, sprinkled glass rims are so easy and were the surprise hit of the party. Which is good, because you are about to see 40 of them in April...

"Cheese!"

After we ate (and ate), we moved on to some crafting. We had some ideas about tulle butterflies and cork love bugs, and some of that occurred. But mostly, just general creativity happened and that's just perfect. Have at it, girls. Rhys disappeared with the blue marker to make anatomy flashcards for Matt.


Time for visiting...




Sorry, Eva, but over your head, I'd like to point out the amazing mimosa juice Mara picked up from Trader Joe's: Orange, mango, peach. HELLO.







One partygoer had a major meltdown caused by the self-timer on my camera that prevented her from being in the picture (the horror!). So, I grabbed her little brother instead. Other than that, it was a simple, drama-free party that I hope to repeat many times. Happy Valentines Day, ladies!

One more sprinkled-rim photo for good measure. 
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