Summer has once again come and gone in what seems like a blur. It was a time of busy-ness (but then, what time isn’t busy in our household)…and change.
The biggest and most notable change was the move. After much debate, we chose to leave our home and rent a house an hour south of where we were living, in an effort to be closer to the children’s many activities (saving on gas, tolls, and time), and to have more space to spread out.
In order to stay comfortably in the home we owned, we would have had to put in some money for new flooring, screening the lanai, etc. …and it still wouldn’t have been either comfortable or practical. Our family has grown since moving to Land o’Lakes — not in number as much as in size of people and expanse of activities. The state of the economy and real estate market was essentially imprisoning us in a home that we are UNABLE to sell. (Home ownership, we found out the hard way, is very over-rated in this economy! Gone are the days when you can sell your house and move when your needs change). So our choices were to dump money into a home that was “upside down” in value that we really didn’t want any longer, or to walk away. We finally chose to walk. As of now we are trying to short sell it. I hope that a buyer comes along soon.
The home we are now in is much more suitable to our family size. Toddlers no longer have to share bedrooms with teenagers, everyone has some space, and we are so close to everything! (relatively speaking). In this area of Tampa Bay, there are abundant homeschool activities in which to participate (something Land o’ Lakes was sorely lacking), and I have loved being able to spend some time with my friend Paula, now that I only live a half hour from her. :)
I am a little sad to say “goodbye” to the old house (mostly all of my pretty flowers), but it’s all good.
So we moved on June 10, the day Hillsborough County schools let out, and the rest has been a whirlwind. The summer youth play was gearing up at that point, with rehearsals at least three times weekly, plus additional play-related activities, such as 4th of July parades and cookouts. We celebrated three birthdays: Rey’s 6th, Lefty’s 12th, and Curly Top’s 8th. We have had LOTS of sleepovers (it seems our house was the party spot for most of the summer), Busch Gardens days, and (not enough) trips to the beach.
We also have a new swimmer in the house this summer! DeeDee (now age 2) took a Kinderswim Class (using the swim-float-swim method). I can NOT say enough good things about this program, so pardon my little tangent here.
Knowing that drowning is the leading cause of death of children from ages 1 to 4, and knowing personally more than a couple of families that have experienced this awful tragedy firsthand, I just didn’t want to take any chances. Everywhere you look in the state of Florida, you are surrounded by bodies of water. There are lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans — and most people that we know (including ourselves) either have a pool at their home or in the community. So we started looking for some options for the two year old; our only non-swimming child.
Deaths from drowning for children less than age five in Florida are more than double the national average and are higher than any other state in the nation. More than two-thirds of these deaths occurred in swimming pools.
That’s when we found Kinderswim’s website, and signed Dee up for the lessons. The best decision I ever made. Katja, the swim instructor, works miracles. Dee has been using a floaty type swim suit as a “crutch” (more as a crutch for me, to give me some peace of mind) for the last year. Without it, she would panic and sink. And she couldn’t stand to have her face in the water at all.
Before beginning swim lessons
After a mere four weeks of lessons, Dee graduated. Now able to swim face-down with eyes open, flip over to take a breath and then flip back over to swim some more. Now able to jump from the side and swim back. And by the end of the lessons, able to demonstrate such ability while fully clothed; with diaper, blue jeans, a sweat shirt, tennis shoes, and socks (to simulate an accidental fall into a body of water).
I am amazed! – to say the least. I am astounded at the difference ONE MONTH made in my child’s comfort in and around the water, and ability to save her own life! Obviously, I still do not leave her unattended around the pool, but I feel much safer knowing she has these abilities.
After 2 weeks of swim lessons
Image property of Unique Portraiture
One day last week, I was sitting on the lanai watching the children swim. Dee was in the deep end of the pool floating on a raft when it flipped over on her suddenly. She immediately swam out from underneath it, quickly to the side, climbed out, and then ran crying to me. I reassured her that she was fine; it was just an accident and that she did an AWESOME job getting to the side. She relaxed and was so proud of herself. The lessons paid off right then and there.
I am so excited about this program that I am going to add a permanent link to my sidebar. Every mother should have access to this information. Click on this link to see babies and toddlers in action…swimming!