Easy Summer Fun With Your Little Ones

Hi Friends!

My latest post with Orlando Moms Blog is up today….just in time for the start of summer, which is sneaking up on us, right?!?!

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Easy Summer Fun With Your Little Ones

You can link to the full post HERE.

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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 youΒ a simple list of activities to do together this summer!

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happy reading!

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Labor Day Weekend Wrap-Up

Long weekends are so nice for taking some family time to rest & relax. It was extra nice over this weekend, as we celebrated the Labor Day holiday, and (in what has become our American tradition) said an unofficial good-bye to summer. However, we all know that the temps here in FL will not be dying down anytime soon — so pool-time & flip flops remain a staple around here for us πŸ˜‰

We kicked off our weekend with a little Disney On Ice on Friday evening.

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It was their BRAND NEW 100 Years of Magic show, and it actually was the very 1st showing of it. More to come about the entire show later this week with lots more pics!! It was fantastic!

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Saturday morning, we headed to MyGym for Liam’s class. We’ve actually decided to take a break for the fall, as we have a busy schedule ahead of us, but he absolutely LOVES this place. We only have a few weeks left. I’ll have a post about our fun times with them soon. Ms. Dana is amazing ❀

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Sunday morning, we packed our bags & hit the road to Jacksonville. My dad & step-mom call Jax home & it had been far too long since we all had seen one another. A road trip with an older pup and a 4 year old was definitely interesting….even if it was just for a few hours. Let’s just say we didn’t make it there without stopping πŸ˜‰

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No worries here if little man would be leery of his Papa G since he hadn’t seen him in a while. The two became as thick as thieves, and Liam had a ball with him. He followed him around and wanted to help him with everything he did. Even watering the plants outside. It was so cute ❀

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My step-mom (G-ma to little man) broke out their ice cream maker on Sunday night & Liam was in heaven.

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Don’t turn your back on a 4 year old with a spoon & an open container of cool whip….LOL!!!

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On Monday, we headed out to the beach for a bit. I am not kidding when I tell you that Liam has been asking to go to the beach ALL.SUMMER.LONG. — We definitely have to do a better job of taking more beach trips next summer. This kid cannot get enough of it.

I love this shot I snapped really quick. Stephen & I didn’t even have our shoes off yet, and he was already off running toward the water with my dad πŸ™‚

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Most of the time in Jax, if you were looking for Liam, this is where you found him….in the pool. He even called himself a little fish. He thought it was THE GREATEST thing ever that he got to be in the ocean water and the pool water in the SAME DAY πŸ™‚

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Can’t forget the fur baby. He, of course, came along for the trip. He especially loves Papa G & G-Ma’s house because of the doggy doors & the free reign to go in and out all day long (a luxury he doesn’t get at home πŸ˜‰ )

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Liam said Timber had a good time with his Aunt & Uncle dog …haha! Love that! …Stephen & I said he was more on a “food-cation” than a vacation. That was all he did this weekend — eat & beg!

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Before we loaded up to head home, I made everyone pose for a few pics….

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Such an enjoyable weekend ❀ ….hope you had a lovely one, too!

Until next time, friends!

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Just Keep Swimming {A Refresher}: Our Little Fish

Little man recently wrapped up his spring swim refresher lessons with SwimSprout. Last spring, and into early summer, we spent about 9 weeks going through his initial lessons, & it was an awesome experience. You can catch up on that here.

With the refresher lessons, we just wanted to ensure he remembered everything that was taught to him last year. We plan to be in the water a lot this summer & the temps are already climbing, so it was definitely a good idea to get back into the pool now. We honestly hadn’t been in the water since September.

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We had lessons with Ms. Katie, again, and that made all of us happy. Consistently is key, especially at this age. She remembered his learning style & we pretty much picked up where we left off last summer. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at Liam’s performance in the water on the 1st day. Given the amount of time spent out of the water, I was expecting him to have forgotten a lot, but I was SO wrong. He got right in & started swimming like we had been in the pool yesterday. It was awesome!

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Swimsprout teaches the basics of ISR, and little man did much better in his 1st week of refresher lessons with his rollback. He has definitely proven to be a strong swimmer and can hold his breath for a significant period of time. That can be both good and bad with learning the ISR technique. We have to remember to make him follow through and roll onto his back to take a breath and flip back over to swim to us and/or the steps or edge of the pool. Sometimes, he tries to power swim…and, that may not always be the safest route.

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At the end of the 1st week, I got in the pool with him & Ms. Katie so we could go over his skills & things to watch out for over the summer.

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Refresher lessons usually last 3 to 4 weeks, according to the info we received at registration. However, little man did so great that we only had to go for 2 weeks! Nice for the wallet, but we were a tad bit sad to not spend as much time with Ms. Katie this time around. She really is the best πŸ™‚ …..Liam still asks at pick up from school if we’re going to swim lessons to see her {so cute!}.

We ended our last lesson with asking him to jump off the pool deck. He knew he had to land in the water by himself without having anyone catch him. He had never done this before, but we knew he was ready! He was a little leery, but went for it — he was terrific and we were SO PROUD!!

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Way to go, Liam!! You are such an awesome little fish! It’s gonna be a great summer of swimming….can’t wait!

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Before I end this post, let me just say that having ANY type of swim lessons does not make a child 100% safe in the water. NOTHING replaces parental supervision (that’s my PSA πŸ™‚ ). Also, everyone remember toΒ use pool gates, locks or alarms on doors / windows, and know CPR. Everywhere you look there are bodies of water….it doesn’t take you personally having a pool for your child needing these life saving skills or supervision. PLEASE be safe ❀

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Until next time, friends!

~H

Just Keep Swimming: Our Little Fish

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 πŸ™‚ …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 evenΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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, butΒ 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 πŸ™‚

Waiting patiently to start lessons on Day #1

Β 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! πŸ˜‰

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Week #1

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Week #2

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….

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Week #3 — learning to float with Ms. Katie

Week #3 -- floating with Ms.  Heidi -- 'airplane arms'

Week #3 — floating with Ms. Heidi — ‘airplane arms’

Liam really loves his SwimSprout shirt from Ms. Heidi & wears it frequently to school. Here he is one day before school during mid-point of our lessons.

Liam really loves his SwimSprout shirt from Ms. Heidi & wears it frequently to school. Here he is one day before school during mid-point of our lessons.

Once we got his feet moving, we couldn’t get them to stop πŸ™‚ — part of learning to float is having what Ms. Katie called, “quiet toes” Β — Liam did not like having quiet toes…lol, as you can see in this clip below:

Week #5 -- listening closely to Ms. Katie

Week #5 — listening closely to Ms. Katie

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 πŸ˜‰

Week #7 - cheesing it up!

Week #7 – cheesing it up!

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!

 6/4/14 -- quick selfie to show how excited we were on swim test day -- NOT so excited once he actually got into the pool, but he did AWESOME!

6/4/14 — quick selfie to show how excited we were on swim test day — NOT so excited once he actually got into the pool, but he did AWESOME!

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 πŸ™‚

the FABULOUS SwimSprout teachers who made all this possible -- Ms. Katie & Ms. Heidi. WE LOVE YOU!!!

the FABULOUS SwimSprout teachers who made all this possible — Ms. Katie & Ms. Heidi. WE LOVE YOU!!!

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.

~H

Labor Day Weekend 2013

So summer is technically over, right? Labor Day Weekend 2013 ushered it away with a bang…or a barbeque…or a dip in the pool….bring on fall, peeps!! Of course, in our neck of the woods, it’s still hot as you know what …definitely does NOT feel like fall yet…but we can pretend for now πŸ™‚

Last week, on pretty much on unplanned whim (but those seem to be the best sometimes), we signed Liam up for his very 1st lessons of ANY kind. Yes, I know …what can a 2 year old really do ….I asked myself this same question. He’s doing Playball. It’s a program that’s designed to teach fitness & movement while also teaching the basics of sports, such as baseball, basketball, & soccer. He will get one lesson a week, and it will be taught to his age group. Best of all, it’s during the day AND at his school so super convenient for us. His teacher/coach gave rave reviews from his 1st lesson last week. She said he listened well & participated. She was also amazed at how well he, at 2 yrs old, understood the concepts of the sports they covered that day. Got to give credit to Daddy for that one! We’re gonna try it for this month and see how he does & likes it. Here’s a pic of the T-shirt he wears on the days he has his lesson each week:

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We kicked off our holiday weekend with a cookout & swim at our friend’s. I actually wasn’t feeling too hot that day, so it was a Daddy & Liam afternoon…I was sad to miss out on the fun. Especially, seeing Liam’s 1st trip down this big old-school water slide. Happy someone took pics that I could share & freak out over…part of me was glad I wasn’t there…not so sure I would have let him go down it….hahaha! Daddy said he was a trooper and asked to do it again after the 1st time down. Figures! No.Fear.Ever.

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Sunday, we took up trip to Amaya Papaya to celebrate one of Liam’s fav buddies from school’s birthday. We had a great time playing around there and enjoying the afternoon.

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We closed our fun weekend out on Monday with another cookout at Mimi’s & some swimming (Liam’s favorite this summer). While in the pool on Monday, he figured out, on his own, how to swing his legs in front of him & float onto his back. Hilarious…he was loving it!! I was impressed that he managed to do that even with the swim float on.

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As always, the weekend seemed to go way too fast! We’re definitely looking forward to the fall season, the upcoming holidays, and the fun things associated with them. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times…Liam is our world & every age is more fun than the last…so we are definitely looking forward to these next few months with him. We may not always admit it, but I think it kind of makes us feel like kids again πŸ™‚

Until next time, friends…..