Monday, July 27, 2009

Swim Lesson Fun or Flop?

I signed Maddox up for swimming lessons last minute. Madison is away at Camp Redcloud for the week, and I thought it would be a fun thing for us to do...

So I talked it up, he was super excited to play with new friends and a teacher; then we get there and there are three teachers assigned to the class, and the one that seems to be in charge has a MAJOR attitude problem. She even goes so far to snidely say under her breath in response to a parent asking if they were AquaTot 2 "yeah, that's why I just yelled it out..."

Then one of the teachers takes two of the kids and goes and gets in the pool, the rest of us are left standing there with the attitude chick and a young guy trying to make sense of who should be where. Maddox is starting to get nervous and asks "when is the teacher going to call my name?" Then they (the teachers)head to the pool with out so much as any introduction or greeting with the kids, climb in and expect preschool aged kids to just follow them in. I am standing at the edge of the pool with Maddox being very apprehensive -- who can blame him, you can't expect a 3 year old to just jump into a pool and begin following directions when no one is even acting excited about being there or talking up how much fun it will be--

Finally I butt in and say "Excuse me would you please engage the kids and try to at least get him in the water with you?" The attitude chick comes over and with a tone that would make any 3 year old feel like they are in trouble, tells Maddox to get in the water. He gets in, but gets out to find me, (repeat a few times)...all while attitude chick keeps talking like Maddox is in trouble.

Once in the water there is no excitement or hype about doing any of the activities. Just "lets get on the mat." "put you mouth in the water and blow bubbles" "Maddox, get on the mat." So Maddox is completely disinterested and wanting to do his own thing.

Then they take them to the deep pool, after Maddox has said multiple times that he is worried about not being able to touch, and he won't get in (shocker), and spends the rest of the time sitting on the edge of the pool.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not an expert swimmer, but I do know a thing or two about working with kids, being I am a mom and a teacher with a masters degree, so when I think of swimming lessons for young kids I think of energetic instructors that are excited to be there, get down on the ground and meet the kids, and talk up what they are going to be doing, in order to get the kids excited and build rapport with them; you are asking 3 year olds to trust you in the water.

After lessons attitude chick come up and with the same attitude asks if there is anything that might work to help him enjoy it more... So I say "Yeah, you could have acted happy and excited when you met the kids and actually introduced yourself to them. You could engage them with fun activities." (probably not that snotty sounding but I get my point across). Then she has the NERVE to tell me that she did engage him she kept asking him to get in the water, to which I point out that she was not making it inviting, but rather making it sound like he was in trouble and she says some sort of dismissal such as ok or alright and walks off.

Allie went and talked to the director while I was dealing with Maddox, and she came out and observed for a while then she came and talked to me. She was super nice and helpful; and we are going to give it another go tomorrow with a different teacher, though I am doubtful because the attitude of lessons has already been set for Maddox. I am just sad because he was so excited to do lessons and now it is a struggle.

Learned? It is perplexing that we leave the job of "Life Guarding" in the hands of teens. (Another sign that I am getting old).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

In Exactly ONE Week...

I will Turn 30!
30 Thoughts at 30:
1. That sounds really old
2. I don't feel REALLY old, still feel 24
3. Most of my friends are 30 or older, so they don't have much sympathy for me.
4. I am way healthier/more active at 30 than I was at 24.
5. I just found out there is a 1/2 marathon in the town we are going to for my b-day ON my b-day... Wish I would have known sooner...
6. I have accomplished a lot more than I ever imagined I would by 30.
7. Would like to run 2 - 1/2 marathons in my 30th year.
8. If I am 30 that means Madison is will turn 11, only 5 years till driving!
9. I wish I would have known 1/2 of what I know now, back then.
10. I am the same age as my mom! (My mom will forever be 30 in my mind)
11. Need to SERIOUSLY plan for retirement, given all I want to do.
12. Conflicted between having a HUGE shindig to celebrate, or making the passage quietly.
13. I still want the same things as before, but I think I know HOW to get them now.
14. I know 30 is just a # but it's hard when all the famous athletes, actors,and musicians have a smaller # than me now.
15. I am still younger than most of the parents of my students.
16. Much more appreciative for family now.
17. I have ALMOST lived longer on my own than with my parents.
18. 1/3 of my life has been shared with an amazing man.
19. Feeling that there are just some things I mustn't do now.
20. I know who I am, rather than trying to find myself. (might I say this again at 40?)
21. I wont shop at Hollister: the music's too loud, the scent is overwhelming, and it's too dark to see what I am buying.
22. I will go to the pool and actually swim, but only if it's hot enough.
23. Wish there were a way to impart wisdom that only comes from experience to inexperienced youth.
24. Family time is way more important and valuable to me than social time.
25. I refuse to become unfashionable, but finding the balance between teen and old lady is tricky.
26. I have made some amazing friendships, some that have lasted 20 years (Jolene) and others that are just new (Anne), but all are so valuable to me.
27. I wish I would have had this competitive drive when I was in school.
28. Still learning, still wanting to learn, still imparting learning.
29. I know it will just be another day; I will not actually feel, look, speak, act,or think with any greater insight just because my numbers are 3 and 0.
30. Success and happiness are no longer what I desire most for myself, but what I desire above all else for my children.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cabin Trip: Ideal vs. Reality

Allison and I have been trying to plan a week long trip with just us and the kids. We finally found one week that worked for both of us (only because a soccer tournament was canceled) and began making preparations. Finally last Wednesday we loaded up the truck and headed to the mountains. The bed of the truck was filled to the brim with our supplies; we were really living the out the boy scout motto of always be prepared!

Ideally I imagined a week long trip spending time enjoying the woods; watching our children play in the creeks, collecting bugs, fishing, hiking, roasting marshmallows, playing games, knitting, and going on evening drives to look for wildlife... all while feeling a profound sense of peace, serenity, and relaxation.

The reality of the situation was that all of that did happen: We played in the inlet at Atkinson where I caught 3 fish! We went on several short hikes. We spent a whole day playing in another creek. The kids took an afternoon swim in the lake and came out so smelly. They spent a morning collecting bugs, and much to my demise the only thing they captured was a grasshopper! Allison and I played several games of Hand and Foot and Nertz. We went on several evening drives and saw SO much wildlife- countless deer, 3 foxes (one tried to watch a movie with us through the sliding glass door late one night), 3 porcupines, and many chipmunks (one even snuck into the cabin and we had to chase it out). I got more than half way finished knitting the top portion of the dress I am making. We never did roast marshmallows it was just too hot.

The only other thing missing was the profound feeling of peace, serenity, and relaxation; this was replaced with, frustration as the children (actually our boys) could NOT get along and argued, fought, didn't listen, wouldn't share. Even though we did all we were wanting, with out the feeling of relaxation it just wasn't worth it...

So after only 4 days on the mountains we decided to head home.

Learned? Fighting boys is a buzz kill for an ideal trip to the woods...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Literal Maddox

It is funny to see how literal Maddox is:

Maddox wanted chocolate milk, so I made him some and told him to shake it up. He was just barely shaking it so I told him to shake it up again, he made no changes in how vigorous he was shaking but just shook it higher above his head; I guess he was shaking it "up"!

The other day Maddox asked Brian something and he said no, then Maddox turned around and asked me and I repeated the answer, so Brian said, "Mom's got my back". To this Maddox stopped what he was doing came over to me turned me around so he could see my back and said "let me see".

Then yesterday....
Maddox: Mom where's dad?
Me: At work
Maddox: Where's dad work?
Me: In Parachute.
Maddox: Does dad work in the sky or on the ground?
Me: Stunned silence while I process his question.... then it dawns on me he is thinking of parachutes, the ones used to float safely to the ground after exiting an airplane while still in flight... The rest of our conversation is spent trying to explain the names of towns.

Learned: I forget how literal young children are, and continually amused by my son.

Weddings, Dwellings, and Mountains - DURANGO!

We headed to Durango Last week for a long weekend and Brian's cousin's wedding; and had a wonderful time with the WHOLE family.

We left after my Serpents Trail run Thursday and slowly made our way across the beautiful mountains; I always love the drive once we are out of Montrose BUT I get car sick so easy! We stopped in Silverton and enjoyed an ice cream cone as we strolled through town. Maddox said that "this town is old!" how right he was! I really could see Brian and I living here when we retire... we love the mountains and the snow and the small town!

Once we got into Durango we meandered through historic down town and made our way to the train museum. Maddox was fascinated with all the trains, life size and model, and wanted to bring grandma and papa back there when they got to town. When we drove into town there were signs up for the gem and mineral show, and Brian wondered if Josh would be there.... and guess who we ran into at the museum...yep Josh!! It was fun to see and visit with him for a minute! When done there we headed to the hotel and went for a swim.

Friday the whole family, Brian, the kids, Carrie, Rob, Myla, Amy, Cecil, Dillon, and I, headed to Mesa Verde. I had been when I was maybe a little older than Madison, and remember being fascinated... It was amazing! Our first stop was to Spruce Tree house and we climbed into the Kiva. Then we all went to Cliff Palace; this place was huge. I was really looking forward to learning more about it, but our tour got interrupted when a lady stumbled forward into our guide and passed out, he had to take care of her, and the rest of us were on our own. (I am frustrated because they specifically tell you not to bring any food or drink besides water, and the girl with her cracked open a soda!!! that tels you what kind of people they were). At Cliff Palace we got to see some art work that was inside one of the rooms, it was pretty amazing that the ruins and art work were preserved for SO many years!

Our next stop was to Balcony House, a much more treacherous trip, so Amy and Cecil took the younger kids back to the hotel while the rest of us continued... This tour was great, our guide was funny and very knowledgeable. He made Madison the Junior Ranger of the trip, complete with badge; she led the way along the paths, up the ladders, through the tunnels, doing a mighty fine job! To get into the Balcony House you have to climb a very tall ladder, but once you are up you are actually IN the run. To get out, you have to go through several tunnels, up another tall ladder, and traverse a cliff wall. Heights don't bother me but I was a little worried about the tunnels. The first was pretty big and tall enough to walk through, the second was a different story; you have to crawl through on your hands and knees but it is short and you can see the other side. So I waited till Rob got all the way through (so I could see the light on the other side)but watching him panicked me a bit; all the guys are big, broad shouldered men, so it was a tight squeeze. But I sucked it up and made it through with no problems! This is the one that I have the most vivid childhood memories of, probably because it is the most work to get in and out of. When we got home (to the hotel) the pool was calling out to us... of course we answered with a few cannon balls!

Saturday was the day of the wedding and Carrie's birthday; her one request was that we all go get an old time photo done. This turned out to be so fun! Maddox loved dressing up as a cowboy and even tolerated the pictures. By the time we wandered around town, and ate it was time for naps followed by dinner and heading to Bayfield for the wedding. It was a beautiful, short wedding with a long reception. The kids had fun on the bump and jump, and I just took in the beauty of the scenery.

Sunday we headed out and made a quick stop at Durango Mountain to do the Alpine slide. I love these! We all had a great time, especially Madison and Maddox! It was a good thing that we only got a single ride because it was starting to rain and they closed it down right after we we went. Then it was time to say good by to our Durango adventures and head home to the real world of laundry, cleaning, and work.

Learned? Glad we had the excuse of a wedding; a family vacation was long overdue!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July Weekend Re-cap

Fishing on the mesa,

Tabeguache trail run,

Going away BBQ for my brother Alix (left for the army yesterday),

Fireworks with the family,

Weeded flowerbeds,

Removed 3 bushes,

Removed the deck railing,

Transplanted iris and one plant (hope they survive, but they had to be moved their home is getting tilled and turned into grass),

Two boulders moved,

Truck loaded for the dump,

and a Dinner visit with the Sandoval's as they passed through town...

A lovely weekend!!

Learned: When you do a lot of yard work it feels like you did SO much but when you recount it it seems rather minuscule!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Maddox's First Fish!

Yesterday Brian, Maddox, and I went to the Mesa to fish (Madison was at her Aunt Peggy and Teja's riding horses). Maddox was so excited and spent the whole day climbing, jumping, and throwing rocks. Our first lake was my personal favorite, Atkinson, and we walked to the inlet to do some fishing. Maddox was the first, and only, one to catch a fish. He was super excited and even wanted to hold it up for a picture, then he touched it and discovered how slimy it was and changed his mind.

We tooled around the mesa 4-wheeling into some of the back lakes to fish and just enjoying oursleves. Maddox fell asleep, so we found a nice meadow and all took a brief snooz.

Our journey continued over the top of the Mesa and down Lands End road. I really enjoyed myself watching my two boys fish together.

Learned? Fishing is like gambling; Just one more cast and I know I will catch one!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Conquering the Serpent

On my 5th week of running Serpents Trail, I have finally conquered it; I ran it all the way up, both times with out stopping! YAHOO! It felt so good to accomplish this. I will of course keep going because it is such a great, scenic and cardio, run.

Our group of women going has grown from the original two ladies to now include six of us; all ranging in ability from the casual hiker to the marathon runner! It is such a great group of women all enjoying the scenery and a common goal of improving our health.

I can honestly say that with out each of these amazing ladies, I would not have succeeded in this goal. I for sure would not be crawling out of bed before 5 during the summer if I didn't have them waiting for me, nor would I have made it to the top if I didn't have two great examples blazing the trail ahead of me!

Now to improve my pace!!!

Learned? The view from the top is beautiful, but not nearly as great as the sense of accomplishment attained from reach it.