I’m definitely not a fan of over scheduling our family time – which can be easy to do these days! I want to focus on making memories this summer, so this post gives you a simple list of activities to do together this summer!
We took a trip to the Central Florida Zoo on a Sunday afternoon just the other weekend, and it was so much fun checking out all the animal friends! This was our 1st visit to this particular zoo, and honestly, the 1st time Liam was feeling like he was going to the zoo, as he doesn’t really remember our previous trip to the Brevard Zoo a while back. Crazy as it seems, that trip was just about 3 years ago….so yeah, I guess little man really wouldn’t remember it at this age. 🙂
Checking out the river otters….they were so fast, it was hard to snap a pic! Definitely love to swim & play around, though. It was really cute.
Liam is really into butterfly’s right now, and there was a butterfly garden next to the giraffes. He loved that he could stand amidst the flowers and the butterfly’s were all around him.
Giraffes! Gotta admit that I was kinda disappointed with this set up compared to Brevard. It was hard to see them with the fence 😦
Rhinos! Liam said after we got home that these were his favorite animals that he saw there. When we got up to them, they were wrestling (playing?) over the mud pit area ….lol! We stood here & watched them for a bit.
Cougar! …this guy was kinda fiesty ….It was dinner time & he was looking for his food to come. Same with the camel above. He could care less about us walking by….he was eyeing the staff bring his food over 🙂
This turtle was huge!! We love these guys so were excited to say hi to him. P.S. — there is a reptile exhibit house that we checked out & Liam was very into. This mama just couldn’t bring herself to take any pics of it…lol!
Checking out the bald eagle….
We took a little spin on the train they have at the front of the zoo. It chugs along through the front of the property. Very enjoyable!
Family selfie on the train.
We had a great afternoon at the zoo, and the weather was gorgeous! I love little trips like this because it’s both educational for our wee-man and an adventure. Definitely a win-win! On our list still is to take him to the Jacksonville Zoo and the Lowry Park Zoo.
We also have passes here at the Central Florida Zoo for a few more months, and they have a pretty cool splash pad for the kiddos….so, we’ll definitely be back again, as the temps are already heating back up 🙂
This post has been a long time in the making. Mainly because it took me forEVER to get all these pics & videos off my phone & organized 🙂 …However, I really wanted to share the journey we had a few months back of Liam learning to swim. It really was quite the experience — fun, tiring (for ALL of us), hard work for him, for sure, & at times, emotional for this mama.
We started lessons on Monday, April 7th & he finished the program on Thursday, June 4th. In our area of town, there’s a few companies that we could have selected. Obviously, some might say, why not just teach him yourself & save a few bucks…..Well, good point, I guess, but we just didn’t feel comfortable doing that. Florida is surrounded by bodies of water. We wanted him to be taught life saving skills in the water. In a split second the unthinkable could happen. We wanted him to be prepared for that, and bottom line — We don’t feel that you can put a price on your child’s life. Teaching him these skills was just too important to us, so we made it happen.
We were thrilled that we could get him onto the schedule with SwimSprout. This is THE most fabulous group of ladies, and I am saying that because I am a happy mama whose child can now swim…not because anyone asked me to say that. Liam loves these ladies, and even two months since he finished lessons and he is still asking to go to Ms. Heidi’s house for swim lessons when I pick him up from school. To me, that tells you something special 🙂
What Liam was taught over the 9 week period that he went for lessons (our schedule was extended because of weather delay’s & sickness) was basic water safety & survival. I feel like I could write you a book about all that Ms. Heidi & Ms. Katie taught us, but I’m not the expert in all that jazz, so if you’re interested in it for your little one, please go to their website or link to their private Facebook group from their site. If you’re not in our area, you can find more info by searching Infant Self-Rescue.
Now, for the good stuff! Here’s some highlights from our swimming adventures 🙂
Our lessons started with correcting Liam’s posture in the water from us using one of those puddle jumper vests all last summer. Oops! We honestly had no idea that it was actually “bad” to use that and does nothing to teach a child life saving skills if they fall in a pool without it on. You just don’t think about it. Lesson learned! 😉
It was a running joke that Liam would smile & say “yes” to anything that Ms. Katie or Ms. Heidi asked of him. Hilarious! Besides the first day or two, this kid never cried. He loved it!
The puddle jumper vest just allowed him to kinda float along in the water and not use his legs, so it was hard to get him to start kicking at first and get moving. Here’s some early video of that process….
Once we got his feet moving, we couldn’t get them to stop 🙂 — part of learning to float is having what Ms. Katie called, “quiet toes” — Liam did not like having quiet toes…lol, as you can see in this clip below:
Once he got the floating down, he was taught to roll from his back into the water and swim again. Essentially, putting the whole process together was called swim/float/swim. Here’s a clip when it first clicked and he put it all together — then, in a rare moment for him, he got ticked off at the end 😉
Toward the end of his lessons, he got to be quite the strong swimmer and got awesome at holding his breath. Almost, too good! Ms. Katie had to keep putting him further and further away from the steps because he kept reaching them so fast AND not rolling over onto his back to take a breath….what a stinker!
June 4th was his swim test day & he did great! I think it was harder for us to watch than anything. I video-taped it, but it’s a looong video & the lighting is terrible so I chose not to post. Instead, here’s a clip of little man from just over a month ago. We are proud that he is still swimming strong & having fun in the pool. On this day, he wanted to swim in the deep end with Daddy 🙂
What a great experience this has been for our entire family!! We can’t wait to catch up with Ms. Heidi & Ms. Katie in the fall for a refresher session.