Thankfully He Wasn’t REALLY Drowning

(Image Courtesy of Google)
(Image Courtesy of Google)

So the three little monkeys of mine now have swimming lessons. All in one place and for a half an hour every week. For thirty minutes I sit calmly and safely. I sit there and zone out from time to time while cannon balls shatter in the distance. I nod my head every once in a while to acknowledge a water tread, back float or half attempt at a dive. I nod away, they think I’m watching.

Sometimes if I get really animated I yell out, “Great job boys, keep it up.” I feel so free. I know there will be no Sharpie’s upon my walls or gallons of milk dripping from the counters. I know no child has clogged a toilet with a toy screwdriver which would later lead to its demise and removal. I know nobody is putting special bubbly in mommy’s contact case. I know no child is breaking and entering a neighbor’s home for chips in their pantry. I am at peace.

Why in the world didn’t I come up with this sooner? Why? This is the calmest thirty minutes I get each week. I do not care if the instructors pass them. I will pay anything to keep them learning water survival tactics. You’ll see, by the time they are 20, 15 and 13, we will have Olympic hopefuls in the making. I am a perfectionist and I believe, in order to achieve, we must practice, practice, practice. Ah, Namaste.

So by the time Peeno gets out of the pool and I wipe him dry, Noochie is getting out. Then Nickelbass finishes up his last belly flop from the high dive. Now I have regrouped, recharged and didn’t even need alcohol. But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. Now when your children are escorted out of the pool by their instructor, you dry them off and they put their shoes on, you expect them to make their way towards the exit sign. There should be no need to have your guard up or your mommy defense in overdrive. Nobody is getting back into the pool.

But yesterday when I was gathering my belongings, because somehow we always leave with more articles of clothing than we came in with, little Noochie decides to conduct a test. Yes, quite similar to the Emergency Broadcast System. Where it gets your attention until you hear, “This is only a test”. Well I guess over the thirty minutes while I was meditating, when I thought little Noochie was working hard at his breast stroke, he was eyeing up the Lifeguards.

(Image Courtesy of Google)
(Image Courtesy of Google)

Not in the ‘dude scoping out the chicks’ kind of way, but as in, ‘are they really paying attention kind of way’. Oh yes, you guessed it. He “accidentally” falls in. Of course they do nothing. I hurdle the swim team members, resin chairs and water-logged noodles and practically jump in after him. He says, “Mommy just calm down. I got this.” Then he swims to the ladder and in Baywatch fashion climbs out. I am all like in fight or flight mode and this little $h*t walks up to the Lifeguard and goes,”Hey, I just fell in the pool and you weren’t even paying attention.” I wanted to crack him upside his head. Yet, at the same time, he did have a point. Well at least he proved a point, which is exactly what he set out to do.

The Lifeguards are all apologizing to him, a five-year old, and I was still without words due to a potential drowning shock. But last night as I lay in bed with fury critters (more on that to come) I thought to myself, what a sly little guy. He is five and while he was challenging his instructor to push his limits and watching me to make sure I didn’t miss a stroke, he was also eyeing up the fact that the Lifeguards were not life guarding. The fact that teenagers were shaking in their swimmers for fear of job loss as a result of a five-year old’s test, just awed me.

Last year on vacation, when a stranger said to her sister, “That boy. That boy right there is gonna be somebody. He just has that look about him.” Well, she was talking about Noochie. I guess she was on to something. I hope I survive to see his triumphs.

What recent scare did you almost ___________ your pants from? What about you LifeGuards? Do you pay less attention when parents are around?


Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

"At the end of the day, it isn't where I came from.  Maybe home is somewhere I'm going and never have been before." - Warsan Shire
“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” – Warsan Shire

They crouched down on the snow-white ground and peered into someone’s home.  My little boys wondering what tiny, fury animal makes his way in and out of this hole each and every day.  The place spiders, squirrels, insects and chipmunks shield themselves from cold winter nights and hot summer days.  In the tree’s crevice these little critters hide from stronger beasts.  The place they call home.

I often think about the boys and where we live.  The place we leave from and return each day.  The place I call home.  The place where I have watched them take their first steps, eat their first foods, ride their bikes without training wheels and make off from, onto a school bus.  The place where we planted trees and watch our wild flowers grow.  The place where we run through sprinklers and chase fireflies at night.  This place we call home.

Yet, these are moments that define our home.  The moments can travel with us to any place we set up our temporary camp.  We cannot define our love for each other by the brick and mortar that surrounds us every night.  Real home is living in the moment and building experiences.  Home is where the heart is and it does not stop when encased by a layer of wood, brick or glass.  Home is not a place, but a moment. 

For the protection of the tree only shields and contains us, it doesn’t define us.

– Swimgirl


What’s in Your Cup? A Cinnamon Powder Reflection

“What Lies Behind Us and What Lies Before Us are Small Matters Compared to What Lies Within Us” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s Monday and we meet again for our Monday Morning Mojo Booster via What’s In Your Cup?  Now don’t go and log off or get all hot and bothered, I will begin blogging my regular show here again soon.  This is just an added bonus to keep me accountable and you sharing in on the fun.

I started my morning off with an Extra Shot Soy Latte.  Since I wanted it served in a real cup that requires dishwashing, I ventured into the cafe.  I thought it would be a great way to start a Monday coming off of a tryptophan coma and many days filled with Holiday hoopla.  What I didn’t anticipate is what I would find in my cup.

Once the froth cleared and the cinnamon powder settled to the bottom, there in my cup were two twinkling eyes and a button nose.  Now this isn’t some freak thing like where people see images of saints or athletes in their grilled cheese sandwiches, this was just my very own reflection staring back at me.

It is bit different to see your reflection in anything other than a mirror and a coffee stained glimpse of my morning face was initially a bit startling.  Yet, as I looked deeper into my cup I couldn’t see the bottom no matter how hard I tried.  Then when my thoughts and eyes carried me back to the rim, I was gone.  But it got me to thinking and reflecting and thinking some more. 

You can’t always see the bottom, sometimes you have to be still and just float and other times, you have to tread like hell. – Swimgirl

The year is quickly coming to an end and with all the holiday happenings, it will be easy to get side-tracked and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season.  This morning, I vowed to make a point to stop and reflect on this year before anticipating the next.  So, with that being scripted, I shall reflect on the events of the year.  Here is a list of my top ten reflections for 2012:

1) Spending time with a loved one in their last few days here on earth can be extremely spiritual and healing.

2)  As taken from my two-year old son; Whenever someone asks what you are up to and you really care to not share, just answer, “Anything!”

3)  Saving for a rainy day is encouraged, saving for a storm is a must!

4)  There will come a time when you have to walk away from all the drama and just do for you.

5)  As taken from my five-year old son;  Things don’t always happen when you want them too, so you might as well make a melody out of the madness.  Because when you have to go #2 in a public restroom, wearing your Sunday best and mom is frustrated because we are out to brunch, just sit on the pot and make like Gene Autry.  “Frosty the Snowman will get the job done mom and I will be out soon!”  He can carry a tune that kid even if in the wrong setting.

6)  Sometimes you have to lose your map to really know your path.

7)  Deep breaths can heal your soul, even if temporarily and sweating like mad on a yoga mat.

8)  There will always be people throwing boulders.  You have to make like a river and flow over, around and in between them.  There will be times when you have to swim along with the current and at other times you can rest and it will carry you.

9)  As taken from my nine-year old son; You cannot always be the way people want you to be, sometimes you have to be you.  “I don’t always color in between the lines, but I like it that way sometimes.”

10)  Never stop being grateful.  For even in turbulent times, there is at least one thing you can close your eyes, breathe deeply and smirk about.

I am grateful for a lidless cup of java today.  Grateful that I took the time to sit still and just show up.  That with only 36 days left of 2012, I still have time to reflect on the past, look forward to the future and pause in the present.  That before busting out the journals, notebooks, scratch pads and eNotes to start our list of resolutions, we can also make a list of reflections.  Some may be good and some we may not want to turn back to.  Yet, each event makes us who we are.  It is our own unique story that some day will be our legacy. 

So, What’s In Your Cup?  Is there anything in your cup worthy of reflection?  Is there anything you could share that would stir the cup of communication?  Perhaps you prefer to reflect silently.  It’s all good here.  But I challenge you to pause, show up and just be before the end of the year. 

 Life Is Only A Reflection of What We Allow Ourselves To See


Red, White and You!

This is absolutely my favorite weekend of the year!  The official kick off of summer!  In the Northeastern parts of the country, the first plantings of the garden get folded into the soil and the sounds of children echo across the yards.  The pools are officially open for business and we start to have more warm days than not.

Memorial Day weekend deserves that honorable mention for all things it represents.  Early sunrises and the morning dewCatching fireflies at dusk.  Bonfires and s’more making and sporting a sun-kissed glow.  Balls cracking on bats and bicycle rides in the park.  Children running through sprinklers and patriotism.  I can go on and on.  So with all things warm and sunny, I thought I would share my official kick-off to summer guide.  Now remember, don’t forget your sunscreen!

The Unofficial Guide to Kick-Off Summer

Dare to bare!  Nothing says summertime like shorts, tees and tanks.  Bathing suits can sometimes be classified as the unmentionables and speedos, well let’s just not go there.  But the best part of summer is going barefoot in the grass.  It is a fantastic form of therapy.  Whether you want to cool off your feet, give them a gentle massage or just transform back to childhood, a trip barefoot in the grass will do just that.

Have s’more!  Sweet, gooey and delicious.  Who isn’t a fan of s’mores?  Yet, the best part of them is making them.  I am not talking in foil preparation in your oven or microwaved on a micro safe plate.  The good old-fashioned way.  Light a bonfire, grab a stick and insert that marshmallow.  You decide if you want to torch the creamy puff, lightly brown or barely toast.  The options are endless and the messier the better!

Fire ‘er up!  Take the cover off, scrape the winter from the rack and get it stoked.  Don’t be intimidated!  You can prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts right on the barbie.  You can cook eggs and some turkey bacon in a pan right on the grill.  Create a veggie and fish packet with foil,  skewer some plums, pears and peaches, drizzle with olive oil and turn before they burn.  Take the cooking outdoors!

Get sprinkled!  Who says you have to be under the age of ten to run through the sprinkler.  Who cares if your neighbors think you have lost your mind.  It’s summer and anything goes!  If running or skipping is not your thing, unroll the folding chair and relax while the cool mist blankets you!

Play Ball!  Grab your buddies, the neighborhood kids and even grandma Flo, it’s time to take it to the streets.  Power down the Blackberry and iPad, shut off your Kindle, turn off the tube and swing batter, batter, swing.  Organize a game of America’s favorite pastime.  A game of neighborhood ball can get all ages involved whether they are playing, cheering or handing out slushies.  Technology often keeps us less social.  So grab a ball, bat and dust off the gloves!  Batter up!

Turn around and swim! I know, cheesy, but nevertheless, dive in!  Get a membership to the community pool, slide into the mountain springs or paddle with the ocean waves.  Summer is not summer until you go for a swim, tread or float.

 Two scoops not one!  When it comes to ice cream, two scoops is ALWAYS better than one.  On a cone, in a bowl or dripping off your chin.  Refeed your soul!  Everything in moderation!  Even Jenny C, Valerie Bertinelli and Sensa will agree, it’s okay to have an occasional cheat!  How many points, calories or carbs?  Who cares!  This is summer!

Grab a Net!  All things that can be caught with a net should be caught and then set free!  Remember chasing fireflies and wanting to keep them forever as pets?  Then in the morning you woke to find mom or dad tell you that “somehow” they got away.  So as soon as dusk fell you would scurry out again to try to find them.  I love watching children chase butterflies or catching crabs in the creek.  Shoes and street clothes on and wet, makes it even better!  It’s summer, the heat will dry them off!

Have a picnic!  Grab a blanket, pack some sandwiches and fruit and head to the park.  The ants and little summer bugs are the perfect picnic cleaner uppers for the crumbs.  Toss a frisby for a nice post meal work-out and indulge in a piece of juicy fruit for dessert.

Salute!  Although Memorial Day is an U.S. Holiday, you can still salute.  It can be a flag, soldier, cause or organization.  Make time to honor an event or person.  Be grateful for what you have and not what you don’t.

So, there you have it.  My little suggestions to kick-off summer wherever in the world you may be.  A few years ago I had the privilege of being in Pearl Harbor, HI on Memorial Day.  It brought out a lot of emotions for me.  But the best part is when I shook the hand of a veteran who survived the attacks.  It made me appreciate that this weekend does not just mark the official kick-off of summer but it can also be a time of reflection.

So as the sun kisses your cheeks, the ice cream drips down your chin and the grass gets stuck between your toes, take time to reflect on all that is important to you.  I know it is not the bills you have to pay, the negative medical test result you received or the personal or career struggle you are facing.  You have one life, choose to live it!  There is no better time to start, then summertime (aka right now)!


Le Tour de France or Spin Class

Decision, decisons…I know.  Seriously I could only dream of Le Tour de France.  For now,  I will pedal it out on a stationary bike.  For my fellow spandex wearing indoor cyclists, you know what this is all about.  For those of you who think spinning is something in the Rumpelstilskin fairy tale, you may not be so far off.  I guess I can see where you could relate spinning to a fairy tale.  As taken from Wikipedia,  Rumpelstilzchen in German means literally “little rattle stilt”. (A stilt is a post or pole which provides support for a structure.)  I can see the correlation.   The stationary bike is the post and the “spinner” is the structure.  It is a sure bet, that when you are pedaling like it’s nobody’s business, that stilt better support your behind.  Little rattle stilt…I sort of like the ring to that!

Well, I started spinning, the stationary bike kind, on a more regular basis.  It is a great workout that can potentially burn 400-700 calories in an hour spin class covering approximately 13-18 miles depending on your pace.  I definitely feel I am getting my spin on.  Since I consume 64 ounces of H2O in one hour and walk out of class like I just got caught on a golf course when the evening sprinklers cranked on at full blast, I’d say I was working it!

Spin class is a nice balance of cardio and strength and if I was to get on a “real” bike out on the roadways, I am sure I would have a significant amount of improved endurance.  Well, we sure would hope so!  In my particular spin class they have an overhead fan that could provide enough energy for a nuclear power plant.  The instructor is poised on a stage for your maximum viewing pleasure.  I sort of feel like they are perched up there higher like a hawk soaring above watching for its next prey.

The class participants come in all shapes, sizes and athletic ability.  You have your quiet, conservative spinsters who won’t dare break a bead of sweat and then there is your Rah-Rah Shish Koom Ba all pumped up participants.  There are plenty of people who wish they took a restorative yoga class instead of strapping themselves into the stir-ups for an hour ride too.  Then there are those outside cyclists who take the art of spinning to a whole ‘nother level.

Then there is me.  A little athleticism and a lot of endurance who definitely wants to maximize a workout with a ton of potential to be the next cyclist at Le Tour De France.  Yet, until yesterday, I was lacking the whole imagery thing.  So, as you know, there is this mega fan to part aid in the cooling feature but also to possible simulate like you are riding into the wind.  The instructors always dedicate “the ride” to a location.  Some locations include but are not limited to Hawaii, Nashville, Italy and the streets of New York City.

So here’s me getting frustrated that I can’t imagine we are riding down Haleakala clinging to our handle bars with white knuckles in fear of going over into the Pacific.  Until yesterday, I just never understood why we can’t just pedal to the metal with some great music and call it quits in an hour.  I didn’t get what the whole imagery thing had to do with working out.

"You call this a storm?"
Then somewhere along mile 6, right about where my instructor started to resemble Captain Dan in the Forrest Gump Storm Scene (go ahead youtube it you – you know you want to),  I found my imagery on a stationary bike.  We were beginning our mountain climb and turning up our resistance to hill number three.  Then it happened.  I began envisioning myself  climbing up the Jura Mountains north of the Alps between the Rhone and Rhine Rivers.  The wind (aka big metal fan breeze) pushing against me.  I had to get past the other cyclists and the climb was getting harder and then I found my rhythm and spun like Rumplelstiltskin did for the young women on the third night of her deadline.  In the fairy tale and my reality, that was pretty darn fast.

I can’t really explain it but I get it now.  The whole sensory imagery thing.  It is okay to pretend and let go.  Nobody knows what you are thinking.  Just like nobody knows where your resistance level is set.  You know what I mean spinners.  We have all cheated our way through a workout.

So, in fairy tale fashion, the moral is make your spin class your ride.  If you have never ventured into a “spin room,” venture in, saddle up, strap in and enjoy the ride.  Afterall, it is your ride, your imagery and your workout.  I have compiled a “must do” list when attending a spin class to help you in your efforts.  Don’t be shy, go for it!

Pedal, Set Go!

The Must Do’s for your Spin Woos
(Disclosure:  Please contact a professional spin instructor on how to achieve the best spin experience)

1.  You best get your jug on.  That’s right, at least a minimum of 32 ounces of water.  You want to be H2O plentiful!

2.  Saddle up!  You will be sitting, also known as “in the saddle”, running, sprinting, jumping and climbing all on a stationary bike for 45 minutes to an hour.  Tweek those bike settings to the most comfortable and safe positions as you can.  Please note, it will take you a few classes to find your right adjustment.  Write your settings down for easy remembrance.

3.  Strap In.  If you lose yourself on a stationary bike, you want to have those foot stir-ups nice and tight.  That’s right.  You don’t want to be pedaling like a you know what and your feet lose grip.  That will be a hurtful casuality.

4.  Have your duo-dry sweat wicker at close range.   If you are working out to your full potential (it is okay to push yourself too) then you will want to mop it up.  We can’t have any blurred vision from sweat drips or slipped grips on the handle bars.

5.  Pedal to the music.  Assuming your instructor is tempo literate, listen to the beats and pedal to the tune.  There is nothing worse than pedaling off beat.

6.  “Really” use the resistance knob.  You’ll see what this is all about when you get going.  You can turn it up and then back it down with a flick of the wrist.  Don’t back down unless instructed to.  Set the pace that works for you but don’t cheat yourself.

7.   Enjoy the ride.  Whether you can visualize the Alps or feel like you are venturing to H-E double hockey sticks, embrace the ride.

So, I hope you all get out there and maximize your ride or venture to try it out.  Let go of your thoughts, your lists of things to do and set out on your journey to reach your destination.  You get “there”  by doing.  So strap in, pedal to the tune and set your mind free.  You will get to that place you desire to be!

You Can Get to That Place you Desire to Be!

I want to leave you with one final thought taken right out of a spin class.

“Push yourself.  Make it happen.  Don’t hold back!  If you have that being punched in the stomach feeling, then you are in the right place!”

– Kris (my favorite spin instructor)