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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:

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

Family Pregnancy/Baby

Goldfish Swim School of Ann Arbor – First Lesson Recap

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.

Isla is turning 9 months old this week.  Our laid back, easy going baby has turned into a super mobile, energetic little monster!  I wrote recently about how she visited Lake Michigan with us, and went swimming in a pool for the first time.

Since then, we’ve gotten a little kiddie pool set up at home and she loves it.  If it is full and she sees it, she squirms and squeals until we get her in.

This is Bubbles, the Mascot at Goldfish Swim School.

It’s amazing to see her having fun and being so fearless.  But as a mother, having a baby with no knowledge of the dangers water can pose strikes an unbelievable amount of fear into me.  Water safety is so important, and we wanted to teach our little one early.

So we got her signed up at Goldfish Swim School of Ann Arbor, and were excited to get started!  It’s just a 15 minute drive from where we live in Chelsea, and well worth it.  We recently had her first 30 minute lesson.  Registration was a breeze!

Goldfish offers numerous classes based on age – from 4 months all the way up to 12 years old.  Isla is in the “Mini 1” class, which goes from ages 4-15 months.

There were 2 other babies in the pool with us on Saturday, and 2 instructors – so we really felt like we got some great 1-on-1 time with each teacher.  They were so good with the babies, making sure that safety and fun were the top priorities.

The instructors were amazing! So interactive and cheerful.

The Mini classes are a gentle introduction to the water, where Isla is starting to learn the basics of swimming and water safety.  They also keep the pool at a very comfortable 90 degrees – it feels just like bathwater!  I love the idea that we’re easing her into this, at her own pace.

Conditioning! Getting her used to having water on her shoulders and head.

I got in the pool with her, while daddy watched and cheered us on.  Isla worked on the basic swim stroke, floating on her back, getting used to having water on her head/face, and even a few quick dips under the water!  It’s so amazing how intuitive babies are, and how they reflexively know to blow bubbles and stop inhaling when they’re under water.

Practicing floating. She’s not so sure about this skill yet.

Isla was a little hesitant, but that’s why it’s great we’ll be coming back every week – so we can work on these skills and build on them so she can be safe and confident in the water.

I have to give a special shout out to the staff.  They were so friendly, helpful in getting us checked in, and letting us know where to go.  At the end of our lesson we realized that our car battery had died, and one of the staff members went out of their way to find us and ask if we needed help.  That is sometimes hard to come by in those situations, so thank you!

At the end of our lesson we left with an adorable little baby swag bag, and smiles on our faces.  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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See you next week, Bubbles!

Can’t wait to share with you how our little Goldfish progresses through her next few months of classes!

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

 

Family

Sometimes Life is Scary

Let’s get real for a few minutes here.

Smiedendipity has been silent for a little while now.  As much as I post happy life events and fun projects here, my husband and I are real people, living a real life…and that sometimes comes with real problems.  I wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t also share our struggles, so I’m writing about this with my husband’s permission.

There has been quite a bit of drama going on in our family over the last year – not between Jeremy and I, but within our larger family circle in general, and it’s caused a TON of stress.  That combined with our full time jobs, and caring for Isla has led to accumulating stress with very little time to address it.

Unfortunately, this caused a small decline in my husband’s health lately.  We’d both wanted him to get in to see the doctor a for a while, he just hadn’t made the time to do it – well, he finally went in.  We really both thought that whatever it was would probably be minor.  No big deal.

Then the doctor threw out a diagnostic guess, with the word “lymphoma” in it.

Lymphoma is a form of cancer.  This is where I fall apart.

Basically there were a few things that it could be, and this was one of them.  Jeremy had some tests run, which led to a completely agonizing wait for the results.  As much as I wanted to be strong for him, I’ve been walking around in a panic.  Thinking about worst case scenarios, and prone to breaking down in sobs at the most random times.  At the gas station, in the grocery store, while changing my daughter’s diaper, even while running.  Jeremy has been so brave, and so optimistic through this whole ordeal – I have always admired his attitude when dealing with the unknown.

I am not as brave as he is, and I haven’t been able to focus on much else other than putting one foot in front of the other as I try to get through each day that the results aren’t in and we’re living in the “what if” zone.

Photo: Heather Jowett Photography

Thankfully, the results did come in.  The diagnosis came back as an autoimmune overreaction, and with a few lifestyle changes – namely, cutting out toxic sources of stress – he’s going to be fine.

My husband is going to be fine.

I’ve never been more thankful for anything in my life.  Even the epidural during my 30 hour labor comes in at a distant second.

We’ve learned a few important lessons through this experience:
Be thankful for your health.  Do what you can to preserve it.
Be thankful for each other.  Time and routine can cause you to forget how lucky you are to have each day.
Be good to yourself.  Don’t sacrifice your own health when putting others first.

Thank you for sticking with me, readers.  My nerves are finally calming down, and I’ll be back to posting regularly very, very soon.

Photo: Heather Jowett Photography

Until then, be good to each other.

Family

Lake Michigan Beach Weekend Getaway

Last weekend we decided to get out of town and head to my husband’s hometown of St. Joseph, Michigan for a quick getaway.  There are so many great memories in this little town, and we couldn’t wait to take our little lady there for her first dip in the lake!

We got into town Friday night, and crashed – we were all tired from a long week.  Saturday morning Isla had us up bright and early at 7AM, so I decided to go for a run while Jeremy grabbed donuts & coffee and had some daddy + daughter time on the bluff.  It was such a nice way to start the day!



The temps were reaching 90 degrees that afternoon, so we headed to a friend’s pool to cool off .  Isla was styling in her babiators and swimsuit, we seriously could not get over how cute she looked.

We were really curious to see how she would do in the pool, since most babies scream the first time they go swimming.  As it turns out, Isla is a total water baby and LOVED it from the first second her toes touched the water.  She was smiling so big, and just kept kicking her little legs!  I think my face broke from smiling so hard at her having fun.

The next morning, we decided to head out for a walk on the bluff, and then to the beach.  We were excited for Isla to see the sand and put her feet in the water – Lake Michigan was pretty cold so I was a little concerned she would get upset, but that wasn’t the case at all.  Once she had her feet in, she sort of looked at us like “is this okay?”, but as soon as she saw our smiles, she was jumping and kicking away.

It was a sweet moment in a special place, because this was the beach we walked on when we were dating, where we had our wedding ceremony, and where we took our pregnancy announcement photo.

All-in-all, it was a nice weekend away – we left sunkissed and happy to have shared this time as a family.