Thursday, June 23, 2011

Letting Go (a little)

I really do have so much to write about, but the past week and a half has just flown by-we have been incredibly busy with a new schedule.  On top of that I ran a marathon on Sunday, so stay tuned in for when I recover enough to write up a decent race report and an account of my pre-marathon jitters (which were pretty significant).

Scores of activities seemed to roll in as summer suddenly materialized these past few weeks.  I found myself weeding through descriptions of Kung Fu instruction and soccer camps, and even considered making the hour drive one way for zoo camp (it just sounds so cool-who wouldn't want to spend all day at the zoo?). Time and time again I kept coming back to swimming.  It's just an important life skill and I wasn't quite satisfied/confident that if my son were to fall in the water whether he would be able to swim to the side without the help of another person.   Boy O had taken a few lessons a couple months back and we had been going once a week for a family swim hour at the local YMCA but I wasn't convinced.  During family swim time, I had a difficult time furthering any sort of swim skills with Boy O other than encouraging just having fun in a life jacket.  Holding Baby O was also a full time job and I never felt like I was giving Boy O the attention he needed.  Not to mention that the open swim coincided perfectly with a somewhat older crowd doing rehabilitation classes and I always felt the need to keep Boy O from splashing (virtually impossible for a 5 year old) and could feel the stare down when he attempted to kick his legs to propel him forward. 

So, tired of the same old thing, I decided to try out a new pool and swim program that I had heard good things about.  I arrived an hour early on Monday morning to sign the boys up and get a good idea of what I was in for and was pleasantly surprised that Baby O could take a class as well.  I wasn't hoping for much since the line of questioning went something like this: Is he 2 years old yet?  Is he potty trained?  Ummm...Not quite.  I even came prepared with activities that might distract him from the fact that everyone else would be in the water, but despite his shortcomings on age and a new bad attitude towards the toilet, he joined a class of kids almost twice his age.

I admit that I did not have high expectations, but this has been an amazing experience for all of us.  One hour a day and four days later, Boy O is swimming in the deep end and jumping off the diving board by himself.  He is even doing some great dives and I could not be more impressed.  In addition there is no family changing room here and Boy O is responsible for his swim back pack, showering after class, and getting dressed and ready all by himself (he did have some trouble remembering where his sandals were today, but he eventually found them...).  He loves his new found independence.

 Baby O has no fear and gives me heart palpitations from time to time with his fearlessness, but it is amazing that he can navigate through the water in his arm floaties all by himself.  He still needs my help sometimes climbing up the ladder and getting in line, but the fact that he is holding his own with kids twice his age is crazy.  WOW!  He also loves the independence.

I find myself sitting on the sidelines, helping every once in a while, but mostly cheering, high-fiving, and clapping for my boys.   My kids are learning to swim and I'm taking notes on how to let go, even if it's just a little bit. 

Waiting for class to start (Yes, I am one of those parents that thinks matching anything is cute).

This isn't the best photograph, but I managed to catch Boy O in midair during one of his first dives in the deep end.

Baby O sitting on the edge, waiting for his turn.  As you can imagine, he already has everyone wrapped around his little finger.

A short video of Boy O jumping off the diving board.  He is ecstatic!

A short video of Baby O's favorite activity.  He asks his teachers about the slide all the time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bedtime Stories

I'm usually never in the right place at the right time, much less with my camera in tow.  Here are some rare pictures where the weather cooperated, the lighting was perfect, my camera was at the ready, and Baby O was too cute for words in his PJ's.

And while I'm on the subject of pajamas, I hope I don't jinx our sleeping schedule of late by mentioning a few bedtime stories...

Sleeping has been pretty doggone wonderful in the last couple of months.  I don't know if it's due to recent growth spurts, lack of teething, the addition of a warm blanket or what, but this kid has been sleeping through the night and is consistently taking a one hour morning nap and an hour and a half in the afternoon.  Hallelujah!  Previously, if Baby O got up at 3 am or later, there were three options:

1) Sleep with him in the guest bed (everyone gets some sleep in this scenario).  This was my preferred option.

2) Bring him into our bedroom to sleep (everyone except Mommy and Daddy O get some sleep)

3) Put him back in his crib (absolutely no one gets any sleep, including Boy O who is in an entirely different bedroom, and Mommy and Daddy O inevitably get into a lack-of-sleep induced argument about whose method of dealing with Baby O's wake ups are better)

I don't know how or when this occurred but when an early morning wake up takes place, it seems as if we are able to reason with him (is this possible with a 20 month old?  or is this just wishful thinking at 3:30 am?), place him back in his crib, no tears, and he even sleeps in!  Will it last?  Probably not, but a person can hope...

A conversation between Daddy O and Baby O is considerably shorter than an early morning conversation with me-somehow the dialogue with my toddler usually includes a trip to the fridge for milk and singing.  Apparently Daddy O just says that he is too tired to go downstairs etc... and Baby O says, Okay, and goes right back to sleep.  Am I a softy?  Yes, but either way, it seems to be working.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Last #$@! Game and Other Fun Tales

The last soccer game.  Or as Baby O refers to it: Foccer.  I did not understand what it meant at first and for several days blamed Daddy O for our sweet baby's potty mouth (in Daddy O's defense, this is absolutely not a word in his vocabulary, but there was nothing else I could think of).  Boy O would appear decked out in shin guards and cleats, Baby O would point to him and say: Foccer, Foccer!  It really did sound like something else and the true meaning did not even occur to me.  Once the words 'ball' and 'game' were added, I finally got it, but I admit that I was a bit perplexed and somewhat embarrassed when it was impressed upon total strangers.

Foccer season was great.  Boy O did a fantastic job playing a year ahead and seemed to fit right in with his teammates.  The days of scoring over 10 goals per game were over but he managed to fit more than a few in this season and it was great to see him get so excited.  More impressive to me was observing the transition from being a ball hog to understanding the concept of passing the ball to one another and calling the ball instead of fighting his own teammate for it.  This wasn't always consistent from week to week, but I think the idea of what a team is might be sinking in. 

The entire team celebrated the last game by going to Chuck E. Cheese's where Boy O was presented with the team spirit award and his very own soccer trophy.  The coach said that no matter what the game was looking like, Boy O was always in high spirits and ready for a team cheer.  Here's Mr. Team Spirit himself:

I asked Boy O what he was thinking in this picture because it didn't seem to be his normal out of this world smile.  He told me that the picture lady told him to say the word 'stinky' instead of smile or cheese and he was a bit confused.  The team picture of course looks very different-all the kids were laughing together as they yelled STINKY!

Back to the Chuck E. Cheese celebration-Daddy O and I have avoided this kid magnet like the plague but could elude it no longer. And before I go into it, here's a confession:  when we celebrated our one year anniversary at Hotel Water Park, we did in fact take the boys to the arcade.  As we were in discussions on how many tokens to purchase, we noticed that they were having a fabulous time just running from machine to machine, pushing the endless amount of buttons.  Boy O had no idea that coins were involved and that they were actually games.  So we took advantage of it and spent one wonderful yet economical hour in the arcade. 

Chuck E. Cheese was definitely a different experience, but it was a relatively mellow atmosphere on a week night.  I was unable to get a proper picture of Boy O since he was in perpetual motion, but I got a couple of good ones of Baby O (also in perpetual motion, but held in place by Daddy O).

Once again, good times had by all and many thanks to our coach who graciously volunteered her time all season.  We'll have to figure out what to do without practice and Saturday games.  We'll miss it, but it will be nice to have our weekend back...


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Last Chance

In an effort to make sure the boys see all there is to see of the Pacific Northwest before we pack our bags, we spent a cloudy Memorial Day driving along the Columbia River Gorge, toured Bonneville Dam, and stopped at several scenic waterfalls.  There's only about a thousand and one more things to see and do in the next eight weeks...

This was a scenic pull off point overlooking the Gorge.  I kept a tight grip on Boy O and Baby O enjoyed seeing the view from his car seat-it freaks me out just to look over the edge.  

Family O took a private tour of the Dam due to the fact that most people were enjoying the BBQ in their backyard.  Both boys loved the steep escalators and glass elevators.

A tour of the waterfalls is always a great thing to do on a drizzly day.  It's beautiful whatever the weather.  Especially Multnomah Falls.

Baby O's smile/grimace is still going strong.

I think this photograph looks familiar-Michael Jackson anyone?

I held Baby O so tight, I'm surprised he survived, luckily this shot only took a few seconds.

Good times had by all, stay tuned there is more to come!