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Happy New(ish) Year!

Hi everyone, hope you all had a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  I’ve gone a blogging hiatus for a bit, which is why it’s been so quiet.  Today is a snow day with Isla, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to update!

We kept it low key this year for the holidays – last year we committed to every gathering under the sun, with a 4 week old baby.  It left us feeling burned out, and really grumpy.  So we agreed to take it easy this year and just celebrate with the 3 of us.  As guilty as it felt not spending it with our extended family, it was the right decision.

My two favorite people on the planet.

The first photo above is our failed (or successful, if we’re rating these on how ridiculous they are) attempt at a Christmas card.  Having a wiggly, uncooperative one year old didn’t work out for us.  Still, hilarious memories.  Our little lady isn’t walking just yet, but she is a pro at crawling and is SO fast.  We finally got the house mostly babyproofed, but I’m sure she will still find trouble.

Isla’s big Christmas gift: her very own chair! | Pottery Barn Kids

We’d planned on heading to St. Joseph for New Year’s Eve, for a family friend’s annual party (Hi, Lesters!).  Old Man Winter had other plans however, and dropped a snow storm on our travel route, so we stayed in PJ’s with homemade pizza and cranberry mules.  I’m really glad we didn’t travel, because there ended up being a 50-car pileup on the freeway we would have traveled.  Staying in was a great alternative, and  I was actually impressed we made it to 10:30 before passing out!

If you saw my NYE Instagram post, you know I mentioned that my intention this year was to make 2018 the year of Grace, Not Perfection.  I have a type A personality, and I also have a lot of hobbies/interests.  This is a problem because I want to pursue all of them, perfectly – which as a human being, I’m not capable of doing.

This left me feeling like the entirety of 2017 was just me sending myself in 13 different directions, doing nothing well or being able to follow through.  Never feeling like I was doing “enough”, or that I was “enough”.  Not good feelings to be experiencing, and all self-induced!

So, this year is a year of refocusing.  A year of getting out of my own way.

A year of realizing that I can do anything, just not everything at the same time.

Thanks for tagging along with me.

Family Pregnancy/Baby

Benefits to Pre-First Birthday Swim Lessons

This post is brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.  While I was provided lessons in exchange for this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

I can’t believe it, but we officially have a one year old!  It doesn’t seem possible.

We’ve been going to swim classes at Goldfish Swim School in Ann Arbor since August. When I tell friends and family about it, they’re often surprised and little confused that I would put her in classes so young.

To be honest, when I started Isla in swimming I was just as skeptical that she would learn much at all, but the skills she’s gained are noticeable and definitely beneficial.  It was recently progress report week, and she’s doing so well!

Oh hey, guys. Just taking a picture with Bubbles!

So I felt the need to share the top reasons – from a personal experience – why you should enroll your baby in swim classes before they even turn 1!

As I’ve talked about in my first lesson recap and water safety posts, we’re in the Mini 1 class, which ranges in age from 4-15 months.

1. Confidence In the Water
I’ve met many little babies and toddlers who HATE the water.  Bath water, pool water, lake water, they hate all of it.  Some of this boils down to the baby’s personal preferences, but some of these little ones just weren’t exposed to it (other than bath time) early on in life, and end up developing a fear of it.  Isla was introduced SO young – she had her first dip in the pool at 6 months, and started swim classes at 8 months – that now it’s no big deal.

2. Bath Time Fun
This brings me to my next point – bath time!  Some babies love it, some hate it.  Isla was in the former category when we first started baths, at least when it came to getting her head and face wet.  She would gasp, choke, and try to climb out of the tub to get away from the water – and this would usually end up in panicked tears.  Poor girl.

Since we’ve started at Goldfish, her comfort level with water has increased 1000x.  When we wash her face/hair, it’s a non-issue.  We tend to do bath time every night right before bed, so it’s a huge relief that she can relax now and wind down instead of working herself up.

Floating like a little baby otter.

3. Bonding Time with Mom & Dad
We LOVE class time with Isla.  So much, that we have to take turns every other weekend getting in the pool with her!  Not only does it solidify the trust between you and baby during teaching moments, but we also spend most of the lesson smiling or laughing.

4. Physical Activity 
Swimming is great exercise for kids and adults alike, and I’m glad we’re getting her started early.  I’ve also noticed that she naps a lot better right after class — she usually fights naps like it’s her job, so I’ll consider this a big win.

Practicing climbing out. Elbow, elbow, belly, knee!

5. Social Interaction/Observation
If you’ve ever visited GSS on a weekend, you know it can be busy.  However, I’ve found that to be a plus for our girl.  She loves watching all of the other kids and babies swimming while we’re waiting for class.

My favorite thing is when we’re in the pool trying something new and she’s hesitant, she’ll often look to the other babies in class and watch what they’re doing.  When she sees that they’ll try it (and have fun!), she’ll look right back to us with a new found bravery and try it herself, like “I can do it, too, Mama!”.

6. Babies love it!
This one is pretty self explanatory.  When we’re in the changing room, I can hardly get her into her suit and swim diaper before she’s demanding I pick her up.  She’ll look at me, point at the door, and say “bye bye!” – it’s her way of saying “okay, mama!  I’m ready for the pool, let’s go NOW!

My two favorite Goldfish.

We are looking forward to growing up through swim lessons, and learning how the Mini 2 classes will be when she gets promoted in just 3 short months!

We love our instructor, Miss Megan!

If you’re looking for swim lessons for your water babies (or big kids), you can find a local Goldfish Swim School at their center locator, and more information below:

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Have you had an awesome experience at Goldfish Swim School?  Would love to hear your stories in the comments!


Isla’s First Trip to the Detroit Zoo

Recently, my mom mentioned she wanted to take Isla and her cousins to the Detroit Zoo for her first visit!  We met up with my mom, my brother Paul, and my niece and nephews on a sunny Sunday morning.



Source: The Detroit Zoo


The Detroit Zoo has 125 acres of habitats for more than 2,000 animals.  I was really excited to see the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center – which I just recently learned is the largest facility for penguins in the world!

We started with a train ride to the back of the zoo, which she LOVED!  She was clapping and pointing at everything :).  I have so many memories coming here with my mom and brothers as a kid, and doing the same thing.

She’s only 11 months old so obviously she has a short attention span, but she had a GREAT time at the sea lion/polar bear exhibit, and watching the penguins swim by!  They were so fast and interactive, that she was really able to focus.

Isla also had a ton of fun watching her older cousins enjoy the exhibits – it’s amazing to see babies so observant of older kids, trying to mimic their behavior and join in on the fun.

Just the cutest little things.

I think the cutest part of the entire trip was the tunnel in the Arctic Circle exhibit.  She caught the attention of a lounging seal, who came over to check her out.  I know buddy, I think she’s cute, too.

She had a great time exploring the zoo with her cousins, we can’t wait to bring her back again when she’s a little older.

I’m quickly learning how much fun it is to experience these things all over again, through the eyes of your child.  Now I’m really looking forward to Christmas and all of the fun the Holidays bring!

Family Pregnancy/Baby

Water Safety at Goldfish Swim School of Ann Arbor

This Water Safety post is brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.  While I was provided lessons in exchange for this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

Hi readers!  How have you been?  We’re enjoying the last little bit of summer here, almost 90 degrees all week.

Most pools here close after Labor day, but we’re still in the water every weekend!  Isla has been in classes at Goldfish Swim School for almost 2 months now, so I wanted to share a little update.

All ready for class to start!

When we started her in swim lessons at 8 months old, I wasn’t sure how much she would really pick up.  I am pleasantly surprised at what’s she’s learned so far, she’s made some great progress in the last 7 weeks.

Last week was WATER safety week at GSS – which is a big deal in our house if you read my last Goldfish post.  Even though the outdoor pools have closed, water safety is a year-round issue!

Bubbles, Water Safety Awareness

Source: Goldfish Swim School

The WATER acronym stands for:

Wear your life jacket!

Act. Throw! Don’t go.

Take swimming lessons.

Educate, learn swim safety skills.

Respect, play it cool and follow the rules.

“Mini 1” WATER Safety Awareness

In our class we focused on staying within an arm’s length of baby when they are in the bathtub (or near any body of water, really), and practicing conditioning, floating, holding on to the edge of the pool, and climbing out.

She was in the water with daddy this last week, while I cheered them on.  It’s such great bonding time with her during class, so we alternate who gets to go in every week.

Chasing Bubbles!

On my “out of the pool” days, I often leave with sore cheeks from smiling so hard watching them in the water together.  She’s learning a ton, and having fun with her dad at the same time.  It’s precious.

Conditioning is so much fun!

I have noticed that while Isla is still completely unafraid of the water, she has a newfound respect for it.  She’s learning to take a breath and hold it before she goes underwater, so now there’s no more swallowing and choking when she’s taken for dips under the surface.

Bouncing: great practice for holding on to the side of the pool.

I’ve seen her practice this in the bathtub as well.  Little lady has been pulling up to standing in the tub, and sometimes falls back into the water.  I’m right there to make sure she’s okay, but I’ll watch for a second (seriously, like .02 seconds) to see how she handles the situation, and she’ll usually make sure she rights herself first.  Sometimes tears follow, but it’s amazing to watch her focus on making sure she is safe and can breathe before she gets upset.

She’s also started to float on her back, on her own – that’s her default position, and one of the best skills she’s learned thus far.  The babies are learning that if they fall into a body of water, the first thing to do is to flip yourself on your back so you can breathe.

Like a little baby otter.

Now when we’re in the pool with her, she tries to sprawl out on her back and float. It’s amazing to watch, and hilarious when we’re supposed to be doing something else.

At the end of the class, Isla earned her WATER safety guard ribbon!  I love these little milestones – it’s still so much fun for us to watch her progress.

So excited for her Water Safety ribbon!

I’m thrilled with how far she’s come.  I definitely feel like these lessons have been invaluable for her safety as well as for our peace of mind.  We love our Saturday mornings in the pool with her!

If you’re looking for swim lessons for your water babies (or big kids), you can find a local Goldfish Swim School at their center locator, and more information below:

Facebook | Instagram | Website | Twitter

Have you had an awesome experience at Goldfish Swim School?  Would love to hear your stories in the comments!