by Rebecca on July 6, 2011

 I am interrupting my 6 month streak of no posting on this blog to tell everyone how thrilled I am with the new swim lessons we have started with Annie and Luke.  My older three kids have taken swim lessons before.  They’ve had a few different teachers.  They’ve done group lessons and private lessons.  And I’ve been very happy with all of them.  But I have never been quite as excited as I am now.   
 I heard a little bit about swim lessons for babies and young kids years ago, but I never knew that much about it or ever took the time to look into it.  Man, I really wish I had!  It could have possibly spared me one of the most traumatic experiences of my life when I was moments away from loosing one of my kids to drowning.
 We spend a lot of time around water, and when summer started again, I just decided that I needed to find out more about these lessons so that Luke especially could learn some skills to help him if ever an accident were to occur. 
 I did a little research that led us to Robyn.  In the words of Annie, “I LOVE Robyn!”  She has been amazing with Luke and Annie both, and I have been amazed at how much they have progressed.  After twelve 15 minute lessons, Annie has gone from doggie-paddling around the pool to being able to swim 5 different strokes the length of the pool, float on her back, dive to the bottom of the pool a few feet deep, and dive off of the diving board.  Luke can float on his back by himself (although he still doesn’t like to do it, he can!), will willingly put his entire face in the water to swim or grab toys, can kick his legs and move his arms enough to swim a short distance, find the side of the pool and climb out by himself.  He is still not to the point where I don’t worry about him in the water, but the progress he has made is amazing, and I know that as we continue practicing and taking more lessons, he will be an independent swimmer before I know it!   
 These classes are not the cheapest ones out there, in fact, this is the most money I have ever paid for swimming lessons, but I have not regretted a penny of what I’ve spent.  If I knew about these lessons sooner, I would have had all of my kids taking them from the time they were 6 months old! 
SwimKids is the name of the company that helped me to find Robyn.  They have classes in the Salt Lake area, and Robyn teaches in Orem.  If you don’t live in Utah, here is a list of other teachers around the country.  If you want any more information, just let me know.  I would be so happy to have someone else benefit from what we’ve found!    
You’ll notice on the videos with Luke, he cries quite a bit.  I was a little nervous to have him do these lessons before we began, because I didn’t want to force him to do something that scared him, and I didn’t want to traumatize him so that he became afraid of the water.  In general, I’m not a huge fan of forcing babies to do things that are frightening for them.  I don’t feel that way at all about these lessons for a few reasons.  First of all, I don’t think he is scared.  The very first lesson he cried the entire 15 minutes, and I think he was scared and nervous then about what was going on.  But I don’t think he is really that scared anymore.  He knows exactly what to expect, and he knows it will be a lot of hard work for him to do it.  He cries in anticipation of the work he knows he’s about to do.  I think he probably feels the most nervous about floating, because it is the hardest thing for him to do, but if you watch him on the video, you will see that he completely trusts Robyn and will listen to her and respond to what she says.  Most of the time he is crying “Ring, ring!” because he wants to do the easiest/most fun part of swim lessons for him, which is to drop the diving rings onto the stairs and pick them up.  Even if I did think he was scared of the lessons, I would still do them, because I think that having a realistic idea of what ‘being in the water’ means is important for young kids.  And since I believe that he is learning skills that may save his life, the value of that is worth a lot to me.  I’ve also been very happy with how calmly and kindly Robyn has handled his crying.  Fortunately, these lessons have given him a much greater confidence in the water.  He now will immerse himself in the water willingly when he is swimming for fun.  He will play games involving the skills he practiced with Robyn, and he loves the water even more than he did before.  Annie, on the other hand, has adored her lessons with Robyn since day one.  I originally signed her up for 8 lessons, and Luke for 12, and she was so heart-broken when her last lesson was done (and I was so happy with how much she was learning), that I signed her up for more.   


On a side note, I am SUPER happy tonight, because Utah just had one of those rare (for here) PERFECT thunderstorms that I absolutely love!!!  One of my favorite things about Maryland is that all summer long we have fabulous thunderstorms almost every summer evening.  In Utah, rain is rare, and a good thunderstorm is even more rare, but tonight, the rain came pouring down in sheets as a light, cool breeze blew, yet the air was still warm.  The thunder was so loud it seemed to shake the ground, and when the lightning came, it lit the sky as bright as noon with a perfect zig-zag shooting across the sky, and the outline of the mountains highlighted in the background.  It smelled clean and cool and like summer.  I was putting Luke to bed when it started, but I had to get up and bring him with me to experience it.  We just sat on our front porch for over 20 minutes taking it all in.  If my boys didn’t have to be up by 6 am for Scout camp and Annie wasn’t sick, I would have woken them up too.  Andrew said I was a bit nutty, but I just can’t help myself when a great thunderstorm is going on!  Does anyone else love thunderstorms like me?
Well…now I remember why I’m not that great at blogging…it takes me so long to complete one post!…but I do have a lot of pictures I’ve taken, and we have had a lot of adventures, so maybe I’ll have some more posts coming soon…?!



by Rebecca on December 17, 2010

Dad, I love you because we can do Daddy dates together with nobody else.  You are such a good dad and you love me.  You’re such a good dad and you always help me.  I love you because we have our snuggle time and we play together and we snuggle and I like to lean on your shoulder for pictures.  (then she blows a kiss to your picture)
Dad, I love you because you read Narnia books to me.  I love you because you are just my Dad and I love you!  I love you Dad because you are always there for me when I have trouble and am worried about something.  You are always there to help me and to guide me.  You are just a great Dad, like some kind of superhero right there in front of me to guide me.  You are some kind of superdad and I just really love you.  I don’t know what I’d do without you. 

I love you Dad because you love me.  You really care about our family and you help us a lot and you are smart and you read to us and you help me with Scout stuff.  You are always so fun and you like to play with us and I love you!  You are a great person and a great dad and a great friend.  I’m glad you’re there in our family.  
Da! Da da da! Da! Da!! Da!!! (pointing and signing at your picture)
I love you for being such a great dad and for helping these kids turn out so well (among many other reasons)!  Happy Birthday!!!



by Rebecca on October 5, 2010

We’ve tried to be careful about not signing the kids up for too many activities or at too early an age, but we couldn’t resist this opportunity to let Annie take some gymnastics classes along with her cousin.  She asks me every day if she gets to go to gymnastics today.  It’s been fun to watch her enjoying herself and learning some new things.  But I can also see how easy it can be for parents to want to live vicariously through their children as I remember my days doing gymnastics and how much I loved it. 

The boys have been thrilled with the basketball camp they attended last month and are eager for a chance to play on a real team. 

Luke has been getting some lessons from his brothers in boxing.  He seems to have a real talent for it and never misses a chance to punch his fists in the air whenever a song from Rocky is playing. 
Speaking of classes, I’ll be teaching another childbirth class starting next week.  Email me if you’re interested.  :)


Luke’s Birthday

by Rebecca on October 3, 2010

My baby is one.  He has been for one month now, but maybe it’s taken me this long to accept it.  Now that I’m no longer in denial, I’ll post some pictures of the occasion.  
The traditional balloons were a hit.  Luke spent most of the day like this:

 and this:
 and this:
 (you get the idea…)

Brown eyes are somewhat of a novelty in this house.  Aren’t his gorgeous?! 
 He was pretty excited about his food all day.  Yummy eggs for breakfast.
 Luke LOVES taking baths.  Thank goodness, since he usually gets 3 a day.  In case you can’t tell from the pictures, he insists on being quite an independent eater, and bathing is somewhat of a necessity after every meal.

 Dad joined us for lunch…we had a lovely picnic lunch up in the mountains with a whole bunch of other homeschooling families.  We meant to go last year as well (it’s an annual event), but Luke was busy being born then.  :)
 (If a bath isn’t readily available after eating, removing all Luke’s clothing is our next best option.)
 Dinner time!  Homemade Cafe Rio salad.  Luke requested it, of course.

 Don’t you love it when you unintentionally wear matching clothes with your spouse?  Andrew and I used to have a couple of identical tshirts that somehow we’d always end up wearing on the same day.  Now we just go for the same color.
I like to fool myself on my children’s first birthdays and pretend that I am making them a healthy cake.  So nevermind that there is about 20 cups of sugar and 10 pounds of butter and cream cheese in this carrot cake, because there are carrots in it too, so it counts as a healthy introduction into the world of sweets…right?  I managed to ignore all the unhealthy ingredients I was adding as I made the cake, but once I tasted it, I couldn’t lie to myself any longer.  It was just way too addicting to pretend it was healthy anymore.  I’ll have to post the recipe sometime.  Seriously amazing. 
 Luke seemed a little nervous & overwhelmed when we put the cake in front of him.  He even started to cry.  But once he got a taste, all was right in his world again.
 I kind of think I have about the most adorable baby there is.  I just can’t get enough of this little guy.  We kept the presents simple and few…he didn’t need much and I am in the middle of transforming into a wanna be minimalist, but I couldn’t resist this little Star Wars tshirt since that was what made the kids fall in love with Luke’s name.
Luke, you light up our lives with your smile and your laugh and your little open mouthed kisses.  I love how you get shy and embarrassed sometimes and snuggle your head into me.  I love how you reach out to your brothers and sister to hold you and so patiently put up with being dragged and thrown around.  I love how much you love animals, especially the chickens, and always want to play with them.  I love how you start laughing anytime anyone else is laughing nearby.  You just look around and know there must be a good joke, and always join in.  I adore it when you show us the new signs you are learning with your chubby little hands.  It always makes us laugh when you start shaking your little body and dancing every time you hear any music.  And even when you keep me up at night, I count my blessings to be sitting there snuggling such a precious boy as you that I can call mine.  I love you Luke!! 


We’ve Got Eggs!

September 7, 2010

 hooray!  our very first egg!a store bought container, but our very own eggs!  look how orange and bright the yolks are!   there is not any cheese or anything else added to these eggs  Our chickens were considerate enough to wait until we returned from our trip back east and laid their first egg on the […]

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heartbreaking news

August 30, 2010

We were devastated to hear this news last night.  We do not know this family, but our hearts are still hurting as we imagine the shock and heartbreak they are now experiencing over such a senseless act.  All day long I have been wishing that I could help these people in some way.  Not knowing […]

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lost & FOUND!

July 14, 2010

I lost my camera.  At first, I wasn’t too worried.  We knew exactly when we had it last, and I was sure it was just somewhere hidden in the car or in one of the bags we hadn’t looked through yet after our busy 4th of July weekend.  Then, after searching the car and unpacking […]

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Love this boy!

June 26, 2010

Seriously love this baby of mine! I can’t believe he’s almost 10 months old.

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