Friday, March 30, 2012

Swimming success

Well after that teaser week of summer in Ottawa, it has made me start itching for the real thing so we can go swimming regularly up at the cottage.  Since he was 3 (now almost 5) J has regularly been taking swimming lessons through the City of Ottawa.  The first round of lessons was really an adjustment period because he refused to participate for the most of the lessons.  He would get in the water but not cooperate with the instructor.  However, since then he has been quite happy about going, some of the tasks are hit or miss with him, he doesn't love having water in his face or ears, but over time, things have improved.  The spring session started last week and I swear, that was a totally different kid in the water!  He was dunking his head, happily floating on his back, front float has improved drastically, he will actually put his face in the water, tentatively, but he used to outright refuse!  He loves to play the games like "What time is it Mr. Wolf?" and "Red light green light" It's too bad the lessons are only 30 minutes long, I think he would benefit from a longer lesson, even another 15 minutes would be great!

The City of Ottawa's Learn to Swim Program offers the Red Cross swimming levels.  They include Parent and Me classes, Preschool classes, and School-Aged program (up to 12 yrs old).  Follow this link for more details.

Not only are swimming lessons fun, but swimming is also a very important skill for a child to have.  Many people have a fear of water and so having lessons in childhood can help to prevent this.  Fear leads to panic and if you panic in the water, the outcome is terrible.  Just knowing how to handle yourself in the water can prevent so many accidental drownings.  Of course, even the best swimmers can drown, and I highly promote the use of life jackets in boats and on inexperienced swimmers in deep water.  Simply knowing how to float and keep your head above water is a critical skill, in my opinion.  I am a strong swimmer, my parents insisted we take swimming lessons and I am doing the same for J.  It is also the kind of class that grows with the child.  They continue to build upon and learn new skills including rescue maneuvers and CPR.  Also something to think about:  teens who become lifeguards and swimming instructors are paid quite well.  They can work at city pools as well as summer camps earning their own money.  The benefits just keep adding up.

For information about how your teen could become a lifeguard visit the National Lifesaving Society's webiste.

Who knows if J will ever go that far, but what's important to me is that he learn to swim and be comfortable around water.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Springtime = SUGAR SHACK!

I am so pleased I was feeling well enough today to go and visit Stanley's Olde Maple Lane Farm. I had been there with J before, but this time we brought Daddy and Shannon with us. DH has never visited a sugar bush before. Poor deprived person. I have had the pleasure of visiting several at different points in my life and love the experience. Stanley's is what I would call the Cadillac version of a sugar shack. It is fairly commercialized, but they do give you the whole experience. They also specialize in weddings and events the rest of the year and I'm sure they do a booming business outside of maple syrup season!

We had such a beautiful day today, we hit 25 degrees, it was like summer! We stripped off our jackets mid-morning and were able to just enjoy the sunshine with no bugs! We did see the odd wasp, but they were still pretty dopey and not at all aggressive. Give it a few more weeks and it will be completely different.

We started the day with their buffet breakfast, pancakes, french toast, belgian waffles, sausage, ham, frittata Y.U.M.! We followed up with a wagon ride around the property, had the pleasure of seeing and hearing cardinals, blue jays, robins and probably a hundred birds I wouldn't recognize the sound of. Our horses Judy and Erica were very gentle and our wonderful driver let J sit up front with him and handle the reins with him. J was so excited when the horses went to a faster pace, he thought he was doing it, well, our driver was letting him think that anyway. Afterwards, we let our little man run some of his breakfast off at their playground, which is dated, but cute and has a nice long slide! Taffy on the snow, let me just say that I haven't eaten enough of that pure sugar treat in my life. Some don't like the sticky sweetness, but it's right up my alley! Don't try to pick it off your teeth, it will melt eventually! They show you their original boiler for maple syrup although it would be illegal to sell products made in there, lead lined systems like this one were banned long ago, but they still operate it to show the history of maple syrup making. We skipped the barn, the smells are too overwhelming for J so we didn't push it. He saw some animals from afar, like the pot-bellied pig Wilbur, some cows hanging out in their enclosure, and he enjoyed the ride with the horses as well.

When we got home we knew it was a great day, because he fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours. When my no-napper naps, we call the day a success!

Thanks to Stanley's, see ya next year!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday mornings

What is it about Sunday mornings?  They are just the best.  While I look forward to Saturdays the most, it usually ends up being quite a busy day with lessons, visits, shopping and whatnot.  I am just as exhausted Saturday night as I am on any other week night.  It's a good exhausted because it usually means that I have enjoyed my day. 

Sunday mornings though are luxurious.  No alarms sounding, wake up when I wake up (or when munchkin crawls in to say "Hi mommy!  I'm hungry!") and no particular schedule to keep or routines to complete like shower, dress, breakfast, make lunches and be in the car to get to work on time.  Sunday means a slower pace, relaxed time lines, eat when we're hungry and decide what to do when everyone is awake.  Sometimes we make plans in advance, but often we just see how the day progresses and go from there. 

Today we woke up to the Black Eyed Peas.  J and I were having our morning chat and cuddle and he was pretending to be a bear in his den waking up from his winter hibernation.  He asked for some berries to eat and wanted to hear some dance music.  So of course, I fed him his pretend berries and put on the first song I could think of that had some good beats.  After our little bear den dance party, he decided it was time to go downstairs and watch cartoons. 

Sunday mornings, so very sweet.  And did I mention yet what an amazing kid I have?  Didn't think so, needed to throw that in there.