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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Abby's Glamping 9th birthday

This month my sweet oldest daughter turned 9.  Only one more year until double digits and halfway through to her probably going off to college. Crazy to think about it that way!  Last week we had her birthday party - summer parties can be lots of fun with all the water activities but we did a pool party last year. This year the theme was glamping. Pinterest was full of cute ideas - I had to greatly restrain myself from trying to do them all and picked my favorite things and tried to keep the rest low key and not work myself up into a Pinterest frenzy. 

Gigi had found these awesome A-frame tent set ups which were perfect for the party! I rearranged the living room and pushed the couches off the side to set up a camp site in the living room. 

 Abby's been asking for a dream catcher for a while and it seemed like the perfect crafty thing for the girls to do during the sleepover.
 It was so interesting to see their different personalities shine through with how they put together their dream catchers. Mostly their patience in how long they wanted to work on it and how much they wanted to add to it before moving onto something else.

 They were really excited to change into their coordinating pajamas. This was my "must-do" in regards to the glamping party because really how cute did these turn out? The girls really seemed to love them as well and didn't waste any time changing into them. My mom again was awesome and embroidered their names on the shorts and I took care of the vinyl on the tank tops.
The girls that came were all from Abby's gymnastics team and of course that meant they were quickly deciding to find poses that practiced their skills. After this they ended up practicing and making up routines on Abby's balance beam, taking turns judging each other - pretty much parroting what they coaches must critic them on! Highly entertaining to listen to as I watched them. 
After a dinner of hot dogs (I mean what else for a glamp out?) the girls settled in to watch a movie. We picked a classic of The Parent Trap (they are at camp and then they go camping in it) and the girls really seemed to enjoy it.
Of course after the movie I played bedtime police and was able to have all the girls to sleep by 11 which I'd say is pretty good for a sleepover. 

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Swimming with Olympian Dara Torres and SwimToday

If you know me, you won't be shocked to here that I've loved all things to do with water since I was young and I have three little waterbugs following in my footsteps. I grew up with love of playing in the pool and enjoyed swim lessons, then went on to join summer swim team, followed by year-round swim team, high school swim team and my first 'real' job was as a lifeguard. Now I'm at the very beginnings possibly starting that cycle with my littles.

All three littles love the pool, we head to the pool at our gym as often as we can and as soon as we go to Gigi and Pop's house they barely get a hello before the kids are pulling on suits and begging a grown up to join them and jump in to the pool in the backyard and we'll be lucky to get them out to eat. For that reason it's very important for my littles to know the rules to follow to follow around the pool and learn how to swim as soon as they can. Drowning is among the leading causes in death for children under 14 right behind car accidents. Learning to swim can greatly reduce this risk.

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to attend an event all about swimming! Momtrends and USA Swimming invited local bloggers to have lunch and learn from 5 time Olympian, Dara Torres and USA Swimming Chief Marketing Officer Matt Farrell all about swimming the #funnestsport.
photo credit: Mario Cantu

Nearly 80% of parents don't think about swimming as a competitive sport for their children once they've checked off the box for swim lesson. Meanwhile parents like Dara Torres (who's 9 year old is following in her footsteps as a swimmer) and myself who experienced swimming as a sport are totally behind it as the #funnestsport. 

Some of the big plus of swim team: 

- It's a sport where everyone participates: no bench warmers!  

- It's a team sport: when you aren't swimming, you are cheering on your friends. Plus there are relays you swim with your teammates as well. 

- Very little equipment is required: swimsuit, swim cap and googles are you are good to go! 

- It's easy to learn 

- Swimming is total body fitness and burns 650 calories an hour! 

- It's a sport for life: once you learn it's something you can do for life. 

- It's closer than you think! More than 60% of families live within 10 minutes of a pool. Swimtoday.org can help you find a swim team near you. 

Bonus: Life skills. Swimming in high school really helped prepared me for mom life. Practice was at 6am (which totally requires a ton of self-motivation to get up and to practice that early!) through the first part of 1st period then we all showered and got ready in the locker room before 2nd period. During the most intense workouts of the season, our time to get ready got shorter and I was a pro at getting ready in under 20 minutes - which comes in handy when you've got a fussy baby or an active toddler! 

After lunch we were able to have a behind the seasons tour of the Phillips 66 National Championship that is happening right in our city! I pass this facility on a daily basis but had never been inside. I was blown away by how amazing the facility is. 
Following the tour, all of the littles got a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with an Olympic champion. Dara Torres gave all the littles a swim lesson that we won't soon forget. 

For the littlest ones Dara worked on getting them comfortable in the water, kicking and blowing bubbles. One of the biggest hurdles many littles have to overcome when it comes to swimming is putting their face in the water and Dara suggests giving them googles so they are able to see in the water. 

For the bigger ones, Dara gave them tips on turning their head to the side to breathe while swimming instead of popping their head up like a turtle.  

She also showed them her cool bubble ring trick. 

Both my littles would agree that swimming is the #funnestsport. I know they would both jump at the chance to be on a swim team. Micah loved his experience of being a part of the summer swim team for the first time earlier this summer. Since the season has ended he's already asked when he's going to do swim team again. The highlight of the season for him came in the very last meet of the season when he won his heat and got the blue ribbon he'd been dying for all season! It's so great as a mom to see your little one set a goal and achieve it! 

I'm not so sure that as a family we are ready to add yet another year round sport and he's still young that we want him to have lots of different experiences to find his passion. We'll definitely be doing swim team again next summer and I wouldn't be surprised if we do venture into year round swimming in the future. 

Abby loves to swim but she also really loves her gymnastics and she's had to learn to make choices this past year between which sport she wants to pursue. As parents, we continually have to evaluate and make choices as we don't want her to burn out in a sport she loves but also want her to be able to follow her passion. While we made the choice for her not to join the swim team this year, we do still spend time at the pool and she loves to do "lessons" with me and work on her strokes.  I could see her trying swimming in the future if she tires of gymnastics. 

Thanks so much to MomTrends, USA Swimming and SwimToday for such an awesome event that I know we won't forget! 

disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own! Thanks again for unforgettable experience! 

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