Saturday, June 25, 2011

Do you believe in magic?

One day last week after swimming, I took the kids to an exhibit at Fernbank Natural History Museum about mythical creatures.
The Daisy will tell you anything you need to know about dragons and unicorns and the both of them were really excited about this exhibit.
Turns out, we went during Superhero Day. A big "wow" for The Boo!
I've always thought of The Daisy as a mermaid:
BUT, I'm a little concerned at just how good The Boo looks as a mermaid!
This dragon greeted us and the kids were beside themselves with excitement!
Really, I don't know where she gets being such a ham from.
I told The Daisy she seemed to be obsessed with Pegasus when she was an itty-bitty baby
The Boo informed me this was a viking and I needed to take his picture next to him
I'd like to have one of these in the yard
Before the museum opened, The Bubble Man was there entertaining kids.
He made some good bubbles and big enough to catch The Boo in!
We explored other areas of the museum, like the science section, where the kids got to be meteorologists:
And the Kids' Nature Area. I didn't think I was going to get them out of here! This was a projection pond with fish kids were trying to step on. I'd actually like one of these too inside the house!
Fernbank was a hit, I must say. I like hearing my kids say,"I LOVE visiting the museum!"

4 down, 2 to go

My infant swim training is down four weeks and I only have two more to go. It was a pretty good week.

In fact, Nadyne, my master instructor, told me I was going to be a good instructor and that I actually reminded her of herself.

I rode that comment all during my last day of the week ... until my last two lessons bombed. And I mean really bombed. I got a talking to about having created dependent swimmers who were chasing me around the pool instead of relying on their skills. Phooey.

I'd been feeling pretty good - Nadyne left me alone Wednesday afternoon when she had a meeting. It was good for both of us and I especially knew I had to figure things out instead of asking her,"He's doing THIS and I think I should do THAT but what do you think?" I actually reinforced a swimming behavior that was totally wrong when I was on my own and immediately thought,"Uh oh, I better fix that right now" and did.

Four o'clock is when we get slammed busy and Nadyne still wasn't back yet. I was finishing up one of her 14-month-old students when the skies darkened and a wind gust slammed the pool door shut. Heck, it's going to storm, I thought. So I finished the lesson and put the baby on the side of the pool: "You're all done, baby!"  and at that very moment lightning flashed and I jumped out: "And so am I!" So I didn't get to finish lessons on my own and got a day cut short.

This coming week, Nadyne is coming in street clothes so she isn't tempted to get in the water. She'll also film me so I can see what I'm doing. This is something I pretty much know but am not thinking fast enough to NOT do something wrong. Here's hoping ...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adventure at Wakoola Water Garden

This is what I want my yard to look like.
Wakoola opened almost 10 years ago and The Daisy and I would go every so often to look at the fish and I'd gaze longingly at the ponds.
After a full week here, I told the kids we were on a surprise adventure and this is where I took them. They had So.Much.Fun! and it was free, I tell you!
Sometimes little brothers are so annoying.
The Daisy was most excited about this gi-normous koi pond
and announced she wants one of the BIG ones for her birthday. Never mind that they're about $500 a fish.
We meandered to the holding tanks for the smaller fish where both The Daisy and The Boo tried catching whatever they could.
I spotted an employee and told them to knock it off. The Daisy then announced she would take one of the $13 baby koi for her birthday, just so I'd know.
In the overgrowth, we found an old truck that looks like 'Mater from "Cars." Boo was in heaven!
Lots of fun, that place!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Swim training, week 3: going mental & recovering

My swim training is now halfway done! And what a week it was.

During the last 10 years, while I attempted to pursue training with another company, I was warned that week 4 was termed "deer in the headlights" week when the information became overwhelming. So I have been wary of the upcoming week 4.

But my moment came this week. Just after noon, I have three kids in a row, ages 4 and 3. All of them were swimming horribly and Nadyne was fussing at me about what I needed to do to fix each one. I couldn't figure out what she was talking about and so she fussed even more. And so ... that was that.

Fortunately, there was a break so I sat outside and let myself have a pity party. Giving up never crossed my mind so I wasn't about to bow out. When I went back in, Nadyne asked if I was ok and if I'd believe that she cried every day for six weeks (and I told her no, I didn't believe that!). She said,"You're like the kids: you know what you know. And you don't know what you don't know."

Back in the water for afternoon lessons and I was fine. Nadyne, for the most part, stayed out of the water Thursday and I thought I did pretty well. (She told me when we got to the pool Thursday morning that her son Jacob told her to tell me: "Breathe through your eyelids!" and go Zen.)

Nadyne also showed The Daisy how to butterfly and she did two strokes perfectly and I could've sworn I was watching my mother in the water! Nadyne said The Daisy would be an amazing swimmer and that Cincinnati has one of the best competitive swim programs in the country. The Daisy told her dad about her accomplishment and, judging from his reaction, competitive swimming is an unlikely future for her.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Visit to the horse rescue

Since all of us are now horse-less, we visited the horse rescue in town, where we had previously volunteered and adopted three mares.
I am really surprised at The Boo's interest in horses now, but I think it's only if the thing is his size. A larger animal still intimidates him and he isn't nearly as horse savvy as The Daisy.
They've both become enamored with the mini-donkeys and, really, who can blame them with a face like that?
And The Daisy played with an app on my phone that lets you color pictures and this is one of the results:
She asked me to email the rescue's director about taking on a project while she's living with me this summer and today we were out looking over some possibilities. Here's one on her list - Miss Tigger:
I liked these girls:
And this guy too. My stepfather Jerry wants a mule. I've told him I was going to adopt one and keep it for him. Maybe this little guy would do.
The rescue takes in everything, as you can see, and, clearly, it was hot today:
I have the worst time convincing them it's time to go.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Swim training: week 2

It's really supposed to be week 4, but the pool heater broke for two weeks so it's like I, and the kids, started all over this week. Yuck.

Monday and Tuesday Nadyne cut me loose with most of the kids. Inside, I was freaking out, but I just needed to do it ... with Nadyne standing there watching me, asking me why I was doing this, why was I doing that? Well, heck, I'm not sure - I think I saw you do it at some point and I'm flying by the seat of my pants here, hoping I don't mess the kid up and wig out the parent in the meantime!

Wednesday The Daisy and The Boo went with me to the pool under threat of being super good or I was going to flip. Nadyne took over all the kids and I first thought she was doing it because my kids were there and she might be thinking I wouldn't be able to focus. But watching her made me feel a bit more confident and she told me,"You've got to stop namby-pambying these kids." So I attempted with some of the afternoon ones and bombed out. There went my confidence.

Daisy and Boo swam the ENTIRE seven hours we were there and never made a peep. They swam with hotel kids, they swam with older siblings of students. They had a blast and Nadyne said she had never seen such well-behaved kids. She told them they were welcome at her pool anytime. I heard her brag on them to a couple of the moms. *Huge Grin* I thanked them over and over for being so good.

Thursday I got to rolling again and I think I did okay. I was feeling if I pushed the kids that I was going to break down that sliver of trust they had in me not to let them drown because I've seen some of them crawl up on Nadyne like cats in water. I haven't had that yet, but it's coming. Nadyne told me before I left that I was close to my 100 hours of training - I'm at 66 hours presently so I best get cracking on making kids swim proficiently.

There are some really challenging ones, which is good for me. Ethan, who won't float. Marley, who's in that in-between crawling and walking stage so after a week of unsuccessfully getting her to kick for a swim, I've decided she needs to float. Erica, the open-mouth, back-arching, non-kicking child - she's going to be awesome. Mulan, who will not hold onto the bar after her swim and just sinks. Harper, who has a beautiful swim and float and then starts crying that she can't do it about five minutes in. All things I have to figure out how to fix to make them successful in the water.