Friday, June 24, 2011

Swim Lessons

 I read that in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, drowning is the number one cause of death for children under 5 years of age. That's such a frightening thought! So when we attended swim lessons with my nieces and nephew today, I was so excited when the instructor offered to teach Gabriel as well. At the beginning of the session she showed me how to teach him to hold his breath. He did it the first time she put his head under the water! We practiced while the other kids had their lessons.

Scout has gone from being terrified to put her face in the water, to being a little fish! Prior to our visit, she mastered the swim-float-swim technique, and her skills were put to the test while fully clothed. Her instructor simulated her falling into the pool by turning her over in the water. She had to pull her jacket off of her face, float to catch her breath, and then swim to safety. She passed with flying colors! So today, she had her first snorkel lesson!

A pro already!
 Jack and Davie are still working on swim-float-swim, and are doing great! I was so impressed!

After all three kids had their lesson Gabriel got to take his turn. She would place him in the water on his tummy face down, and then help him to roll over and float on his back. It was amazing how well he did! With just one lesson he was doing a pretty decent job of floating without help.

I'd never given much thought to it before (seeing that we don't have a pool), but I am such a fan of teaching young children how to swim to safety (or an infant how to float until they can be rescued) after talking with the swim instructor! The pool is a place of fun for most, but the reality is, it can be deadly. The simple solution, and one that I'm learning many Florida residents are very passionate about, is teaching young children pool safety and survival techniques.

If you live near Clermont, Fl and are interested in lessons for your infant or child, please contact Kathleen Pickard at (352)24-FLOAT or visit the Swim Safely Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gabriel's First Flight

Gabriel and I set out on an exciting voyage yesterday- his very first flight! To start our trip we first had to drive about 4 hours to Dallas. (There were no direct flights out of Tulsa to Orlando. Plus it cost much less to drive to and fly out of Dallas.) Gabriel napped and played in the car and was really a delight. We arrived at DFW about an hour and a half before our flight and found out that our flight was delayed. After checking our bag and carseat (with help from Mimi and Gramps- thanks!), and making our way through security, we had over 2 hours to kill. I found a quiet spot and layed a blanket down for Gabriel to play on. He smiled, played and people watched and smiled some more. Prior to boarding, he took a bottle and fell asleep. Perfect! We boarded the plane and made our way to the last row. This awful set up was only balanced out by the fact that the only 2 empty seats were right next to us!! The captain came on, and Gabriel woke up to flirt with the flight attendant and the lady seated across from us. I was feeling confident that we were going to make it through the flight just fine. Gabriel had napped, I had come prepared with snacks, bottles, and new toys to entertain him with. So off we went! I had planned to give Gabriel a bottle during take off to help with his ears, but he had other plans. Instead of drinking some of the bottle I had, he returned the bottle he had drank earlier- soaking himself and me!
So I changed his outfit (remember, I'm prepared!) and realized I had forgotten a lessen that I had learned the hard way once already- always have a change of clothes for me too. The plane had just taken off for a 2.5 hour flight and my shirt was soaking wet and smelled bad, real bad.
I was a little rattled, but told myself that it could be worse. Then it got worse. We hit some turbulence (not too much, but more than I have ever experienced) and once again Gabriel projectile vomited all over me. Then my pants were soaked too.
Gabriel smiled at me though and continued to play with his fun new toys. The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful, and my sweet baby feel asleep right before we landed. We were the last (and the stinkiest) passengers off the plane.
I then took off my mom hat and put on my Super Mom cape (which is what I'm now calling the sling I carry Gabriel in). I wish I had taken a picture, but since I had no free hands and no actual super powers, that was truly impossible.
Gabriel strapped to my front side, I pulled my carry on behind me, with the diaper bag strapped to it. We made our way down to baggage claim where I picked up the suitcase I had checked and his carseat. Like a balancing act you'd see at the circus, I held his carseat handle and the handle to my suitcase in one hand, my carry on in the other, and made my way outside. I know I was a sight because one lady said as I passed by, "Oh excuse me. Wow, she has a lot of stuff. AND a baby?! Somebody help that lady!" I found it funny that she thought it was wise for someone else to help me and not to just do it herself, but it didn't matter anyway. Super Mom had things under control! I was smelly, exhausted, and loaded down like a pack mule, but on the other side of those sliding glass doors was victory- our chariot to our home for the next 3 weeks!

Now that I've had hot shower, a good night's sleep, and a fun day of play with my nieces and nephew, I know I'd do it all over again. Except next time, with a change of clothes in hand.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our Father's Day

Gabriel and I really missed Daddy today. It breaks my heart that he missed his first Father's Day. I hope that because today was Sunday that he was in fact allowed some down time to relax. (They are supposed to be able to attend church, write letters home, etc.) I wonder if his RDC yelled, "HAPPY Blank-ety-blank FATHER'S DAY!" to all the wonderful fathers in boot camp? It's the thought that counts, right?

To celebrate Joey today, Gabriel and I made Daddy a special letter.

Gabriel was pretty upset about all the goo on his hands and feet, but calmed down after he had a chance to inspect the strange substance for himself.

A quick trip to the tub washed away all his concerns (and the paint too!).

 We still haven't received a letter from Daddy or our packet from the Navy, so we won't be able to send this letter just yet. I've been writing since he left though, so I'm hoping to get his address soon. I know our letters will mean a great deal to him (especially this one!), as well as all the pictures I'll be enclosing.

How did you spend your Father's Day?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Gabriel is one lucky baby! He has a terrific Daddy that loves him more than he'll ever know (or at least until he has his own children someday).

If Gabriel could talk, he'd be sure to let Daddy know this Father's Day that he thinks he's...

Funny Brave Kind-hearted Goofy Intelligent Strong Handsome Loving Couragous Caring Giving Playful Sincere Inspiring
Humble Honest Wise Hard working Talented Trustworthy
but most importantly, LOVED

Gabriel and I will celebrate Father's Day without Daddy this year because he is away training for the Navy. Words can't describe how proud we are of him, or the respect we have for his decision to serve us, and our country. Thank you Daddy for all you do for us! We pray for you each day, and hope you can feel our love all the way in Great Lakes, IL.

Photos taken by Christy Thayer

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rise and Shine!

I've never been a morning person. I'm writing this at 3am, so my love of being up late may have something to do with that! I love a quiet house, the tv and computer to myself, and a late night snack. So mornings are not my friend...until recently.

Our morning routine starts around 6-7, when Gabriel wakes up. He sleeps in bed with me, which means I wake up to smiles instead of cries from the other room. I love that his stirring wakes me up, and I'm then able to watch him wake up, roll over, look up at me and smile his gigantic smile. He almost always pats my cheek as he's grinning from ear to ear. I know this is his way of saying, "Good morning, Momma."

We make our way downstairs, and I put Gabriel in his exersaucer. He plays, and I watch. I love how active he is the morning. He mashes buttons, spins noisemakers, chews on the toys that hang out far enough, and smiles and smiles and smiles! Recently, he's been cracking me up looking at himself in the mirror. He catches a glimpse, leans in real close, and then cheeses so big!

After some good playing, we head into the kitchen for some breakfast. Gabriel watches me whip up something yummy from his highchair. Lately, he's been having oatmeal and a fruit. He always starts out using his spoon.

But quickly chooses the quicker route...

(Notice those bananas are still hanging out on his tray. He wasn't a fan. Bananas are one of the very few things I don't like. I know I said Mmmmm in the same way I have with every other food he's tried, but maybe he picked up my icky banana vibe?)

This face might be a pretty good indicator that I need to Mmmmm with a little more enthusiasm.
I was laughing at his face instead of making sure the camera was focused...darn it!

After a good wipe down, Gabriel is usually ready for a nap. I join in on the fun most days. I can't seem to turn down a nap. Plus, it's the perfect way to round out our morning. I never would have imagined loving mornings like I do now. Just another way this little man has improved my life!

Are you a morning person? What's your morning routine?

Friday, June 3, 2011

"I simply remember my favorite things..."

"...and then I don't feeeeeeeeel sooo baaaad."
Maria in The Sound of Music was really on to something! I admit, I'm feeling a little down about my husband, Joey, leaving for basic training with the Navy in less than two weeks. However, tonight is the last night that he is working the night shift at his job and I want to be in high spirits during the time we have together. So I've compiled a list of some of my favorite things (in no particular order), and now I don't feel so bad...really!

-Long hugs
-Peanut butter
-Capturing the perfect picture
-IllumiNations fireworks show at Epcot, and slowly taking the long way out of the park afterwards
-Gabriel gently patting my cheek in the morning and sweetly smiling as if to say, "Good morning, Momma."
-Falling snow
-Singing when no one can hear
-Warm hot chocolate
-A long, hot bath
-My husband's smile
-Friday nights with friends
-Baby breath
-Afternoon naps
-Baking with my nieces
-The smell of hot, wet cement (This is the smell of summer to me. I picture kids running through the sprinkler and lemonade stands!)
-Lemonade stands :)
-My kitty purring in my lap
-Long walks
-Late night talks
-Breakfast for dinner
-Trees in Autumn
-Ice cream cones (ice cream with crust, as my friend's daughter calls it!)
-Holding hands with my husband
-Simply orange juice
-Rocking Gabriel to sleep
-The smell of lavendar

What are some of your favorite things?