Friday, August 19, 2016

Learning to Swim

Getting Jason to be comfortable in the water has always been a struggle. Last summer we were just trying to get him to put his face in the water without needing to wipe it off. We bribed him with ice cream and eventually he would dip his head.

I was hoping that he would remember that it wasn't bad as we began swimming again this summer.

I was surprised when he started running in and going under.
And then again when he started staying under to see how long he could hold his breath.
And again when he started unplugging his nose while under the water.

He just kept pushing himself to do a little more.

Then we got boogie boards and he started feeling like he didn't need his bubble floaty because he could grab onto his board.

And he just kept learning.

One day I looked out to see him figuring out the freestyle stroke while on his boogie board.

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And he just got stronger and stronger... until he was doing it without his board. Not real great, and not real long... but he taught himself to swim this summer.

The biggest surprise was when he let Mike throw him. Last summer he would only allow a barely pick up and drop. This summer he asked for the big throw.

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We are currently visiting my mom and dad, and this afternoon mom took me and the kids to the swimming pool that I always swam in when I was a kid. We jumped in and swam a bit, but Jason was checking out the diving boards. I made him prove he could actually swim a little distance and he surprised me with his strength.

He went down the big slide a few times just to get used to plunging under the water and then I decided that even though I was not ready for it, he was. I had to let him jump off the diving board into 12 feet of water.

And he did it! Without any trouble at all!

He jumped in, popped back up, and swam to the side. And then he got back in line to do it again.

I decided to go grab my camera while my mom kept an eye on him. (Because those lifeguards didn't look too trustworthy!) As I was almost to our stuff the lifeguards blew the whistle to clear the pool. I thought it was for a pool break, but turned out they had to close the pool for the day... only 15 minutes after we had jumped in.

We were pretty bummed and I was sooo glad that I let Jason go to the dives so soon.

He constantly amazes me with his determination and courage! He's amazing!

I can't wait to see how he grows next summer!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don't Be An Internet Meanie

This is where I struggle with the internet... and the human race...

As you know, I've been watching the Olympics as much as possible. I'll probably go through withdrawal when they are over. Well, either that, or I'll remember that there is life beyond the Olympics again.

Anyways... A few days ago the internet was in a tizzy because Gabby Douglas did not place her hand over her heart as she stood on the gold platform and the National Anthem was played. So much criticism was thrown at her because she didn't behave as all the other Americans expected her to. They said she was disrespectful to her country and called her unpatriotic.

A week later, as I was watching the Olympics, I noticed two of our track athletes standing on the medal platform, medals around their necks while the National Anthem once again played. And guess what!? They didn't have their hands over their hearts! They stood just like Gabby Douglas did.

I've been waiting for the uproar. For the name calling. For the hating. But it doesn't seem to be coming. Maybe not as many people were watching? I googled "Olympic track athletes don't place hand over heart" and all that came up was stuff about Gabby Douglas.

How unfair!

I feel like America owes Gabby an apology. I didn't get to watch all of the gymnastics but I thought she acted like an athlete that was there to compete. She's stunning. She's 20 years old and as far as I can tell has some solid character. She appeared very mature. She is someone I have no problem with my daughter looking up to.

And sadly, her team victory, for her, is now tainted by the internet meanies who think they are better than every one else.

I guess my point is... if it's wrong for one, it's wrong for all. And if it isn't a big deal for track athletes to not place their hands on their hearts during the National Anthem... then it's not a big deal that Gabby Douglas didn't do it either.

And the thing about the internet... your words are out there forever. Be careful what you type. And don't be an internet meanie.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Olympic Obsession

Hello!
It's summer.
I'm often too busy to blog because we are out having fun. Mostly swimming. But I have an odd morning where we are home, the house is clean, and I have time to relax.

So let's talk about the Olympics. :)

We are a family obsessed with the Olympics. During summer months it's rare to find us in front of the tv during the day. It takes a solid rainy day for that to happen. But when the Olympics are on we can't seem to pull ourselves away from the tv.

There is just something about watching super athletes compete for a dream. And so many of them so young.

We love watching sports that we never get to see and know very little about. I find myself completely involved and yelling at the tv. Did you see the finish for the women's cycling road race!?!? I was on my feet screaming... along with the rest of my family... and then we felt the great disappointment of that last second loss for the rest of the day. It. was. intense.

We only get NBC because we don't have cable and that's what our antenna brings in for us. While I don't get to watch everything I would like to watch (like soccer!), we still get to see plenty.

Beach volleyball.
Men's volleyball - I'm certain they can fly.
Water polo.
Gymnastics - beasts!!
Swimming - Katie Ledecky!!!
Rowing.
Kayaking.
Cycling.

I love the intensity. I love the slow motion shots of emotion. I love the backstories.

I just love the Olympics!!

We also use the Olympics to talk to our kids about things.
Like...

*Even the best bikers in the world wear their helmets... because even they can wreck. And wreck they did!
*Drugs will get you disqualified. Doping is not cool.
*It takes intense dedication to be great at something.
*American pride!

Are you watching?
What is your favorite Olympic event?
Why do you love the Olympics?


Friday, July 22, 2016

5 Days at Camp

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Liza and Jason just spent five days at camp... without me.
Five days with no communication.
Five days of someone else getting all their smiles and giggles and memories.

I've been away from my kids plenty of times, but it's always so much easier when I am the one going and they are the ones staying home. Home with people I know and love and trust.

Sending them off with strangers for days while I stay home... not so easy.

I missed my kids.
A lot!
All the things that happen in a day that are so normal I don't think about them... until they aren't there anymore.

I missed seeing their toothbrushes in their place.
I missed peeking in on them at night to see them sleeping.
I missed Jason checking to see if I was awake in the morning, and then coming in to snuggle.
I missed seeing Liza's shoes where she annoyingly leaves them every day.
I missed telling her to put them away.
I missed their giggles.
I missed our adventures.

Sure, me and Mike had our fun. We took a long bike ride and a nice hike. We went to a baseball game. We enjoyed our extra time together... but I think I said about a gazillion times that I missed my kids.

Thursday at 4:30 I got them back!
We had to pick them up at church. It's a 40 minute drive and Liza and Jason talked the entire way home.

They told us about...
the good food and the bad food.
friends they made.
the messy obstacle course with green basketti.
archery.
chapel and learning about jumping out of the boat... being brave and bold.
the boys in Jason's room farting at night and laughing about it, instead of falling asleep.
eating so. much. sugar.
kickball.
knee hockey.
hiking to the cross.
Liza's friend who put 23 packs of sugar in one cup of tea.
Jason's six pack party where all the boys took off their shirts and showed off their muscles.
Liza's friend who liked a boy name Harrison and every time they saw him the friend would say, "Harrison! I like your face!"

Jason told me that if the boys in his group went ahead of the leader too far they would have to stop and do ten pushups... so Jason would run ahead just to get to do pushups.

And swimming! They loved swimming. I was so nervous about the swimming part. Would the adults and lifeguards watch them well? Because my kids are not great swimmers. Jason never swims without some kind of flotation device... but apparently he did at camp. He jumped in and swam. Apparently my kids can do far more than I think they can!

It's good for us to get away from each other sometimes. We learn and grow differently. We acknowledge that we miss each other. And it makes home feel even better when we are all back in our places.

We are back to enjoying the hugs and morning snuggles and telling Liza to stop dropping her shoes (and everything else) in that annoying spot just inside the door.

Mike has a rain day and we are all home... relaxing, recovering, and just being together.

Life is good.

Camp 5

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Biking - Rockland and Kennerdale Tunnels

We have been on the Allegheny River Trail several times. We have done both tunnels... but we never rode the distance between the two tunnels. It's been a ride I've talked about doing for a while now... both tunnels on the same ride. 

It's not a ride that we could do with the kids, but they are at camp this week and Mike had a day off of work yesterday. It rained in the morning but was done by 11:00 leaving us plenty of time to have some fun.

I figured the ride would be around 26 - 28 miles if we started in Emlenton and went as far as the second tunnel. I was close in my guessing. We rode 25.77 miles yesterday. Not gonna lie... it was tough for me. My legs were soooo tired by the end. I'm lazy. I sit a lot. I don't use my muscles. The ride challenged me, but I'm really glad that we did it.

We parked in Emlenton where the trail starts and began our ride. It's a lot different when Liza and Jason aren't with us, and we enjoyed going at a faster pace and not having to pay attention to how the kids were doing along the way. And so we rode.

The first tunnel came up quick, just over 5 miles up the trail.
We continued through the Rockland Tunnel and went the next 6 miles until we arrived at the Kennerdale Tunnel. We rode through that and found we had gone about 13 miles. It was time to turn around and head back.

We love the tunnels! We love the blast of cool air as we approach them. We could feel the tunnels before we could see them.

I'm glad I challenged myself with the long ride yesterday. It was really enjoyable even though I ran over a baby snake, teeny tiny frogs and several of those big nasty millipedes.

Ride bikes!! It's fun. :)





Rockland Tunnel
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Getting the lights ready. You can't do these tunnels without lights.
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Going in!
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Near the end.
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Mike riding out of the tunnel.
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Kennerdale Tunnel
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