Bella’s first swim competition

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At the request of her instructor, Bella went to her first swim competition last weekend. (She thought it might give her some motivation to work harder at lessons…) It was super mellow – most of the kids are ages 4-7 – they swim in their regular suits. They have the choice to dive or start from in the pool (we chose in the pool, since she hasn’t learned diving yet…) She raced the 25 meter freestyle – and her instructor even swam ahead in the lane to cheer her on.

I was pretty nervous about this. She is a great little swimmer especially for her age – but she gets nervous sometimes in weird situations in the water. I was crossing my fingers and just hoping she would make it the whole length of the pool without panicking or going to the side. She didn’t just make it – SHE WON FIRST PLACE!! Jeremy and I were so proud of her for just making it – and she was so proud of herself for winning the race. She has been showing off her BLUE ribbon to everyone. At the end of the meet – they throw a bunch of coins in the pool, and the kids can dive for them. She loved that!

I would definitely say this tactic worked! She really listened during her swim lessons this week – and even tried to dive off the big block (although she was only supposed to jump.. it resulted in a belly flop that she swears didn’t hurt…) The instructor then tried to teach her diving from the side – which she did pretty good at! She is so brave! (I was cringing the whole time thinking about how hard that is to learn at first..) I am so proud.

When we were playing in the play pool after lessons, she figured out how to do a front flip in the water. She was so excited to show me over and over again – and I loved watching it. Her interest in swimming is definitely renewed and I couldn’t be more excited for her!

Unplugged and Glamping

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We spent Labor Day weekend in Palomar Mountain with tons of good friends..glamping. What a fantastic way to spend the weekend. I can’t believe we have such a rustic beautiful area close by (door to door it was less than two hours!) and we are just now finding it.

We stayed in a cabin a Baileys Palomar Resort with the Radcliffe family (Thank goodness for Terri – she took a bunch of photos – I didn’t even take one!!), and a bunch of our friends came up and tent camped right by it as well. We didn’t do a whole lot – and cell phones don’t work – and the kids were in heaven with all the dirt and crazy kittens and such – and I think we just had a good time hanging out together. My favorite was checking out the Boucher lookout – you can see all the way to the ocean from the mountains – and next time we go, I really want to check out some of the trails in the Doane Valley camp ground – as that area looked beautiful. We picnicked by the pond the day we left. There will definitely be a “next time..”

It is so much fun to watch Bella play with the other kids and see how much she has grown socially. Kaelyn and her play really well together. They have VERY different personalities – and I think that is what makes them enjoy each other so much. Kaelyn had Bella playing with princesses, and Bella even got Kaelyn to play with worms (they made a house in the picnic area and were protecting the worms from bees…hilarious…) It will be fun as we watch them grow and hang out as families to be able to tell them that they have been friends since they were teeny tiny babies. I hope Audrey and Hannah will grow to be good friends as well. They were pretty funny playing out in Nate’s makeshift camp play pen this weekend. Both seem to be pretty happy and mellow “second” kids, despite not sleeping very well all weekend.

Speaking of second kids. I was thinking this morning about the differences between raising your first versus your second. With Bella, I nursed in private in my bedroom day in and day out, and was mortified every time I had to nurse in public. Little Audrey is more likely to be nursed in the Ergo Carrier out and about than she is in the home since we are constantly on the go. I don’t even think twice about it anymore. I sleep trained Bella gently using the Baby whisperer method and spent many a night on her floor with my hand on her belly – and in general she was a pretty good sleeper – by 8 months we were easily getting a full night of sleep, even if it took a good 30 minutes to put her down. Audrey learned quickly to fall asleep on her own, but still wakes in the night and I have no clue how I am going to address it. With Bella, I was constantly taking her temperature, worried about a little sneeze, bringing her to the doctor for them to just tell me she was just fine. With Audrey, I am much more relaxed, realizing babies just cry sometimes from teething, etc. and comfortable just offering her the comfort I can without heading up to the doc. I made most of Bella’s baby food, and as a result, she wouldn’t even touch the jarred stuff. Audrey has gotten about half/half – there are so many good organic options now – and she seems to be doing just fine. I felt so guilty leaving Bella for half an hour at the gym to workout, and they would call me every time because she would cry so hard for me. With Audrey, I realize that it is good for her – and me to allow her to have some time trusting other adults to care for her while I get a little exercise so that I can be more energized for our day. I guess it all just boils down to experience. I feel like I am definitely more relaxed this time around. I still worry about big stuff (Audrey’s weight, whether she is going to choke on something, whether Bella is going to break her playing “nicely” with her, is she getting enough one on one attention from me…), but it is nice not to have to dwell on the small stuff.

I was also thinking about being a mom this morning. The last few nights have been particularly hard, as I think Audrey has a little cold or teething or something, so I haven’t been sleeping a bunch. (I am a big fan of sleep as most people know…) So instead of working this morning I went straight to the gym when Annie arrived to try to get some exercise to help with my energy levels. So often I hear complaints and worries about motherhood that are so true, “I can’t even pee by myself”, “she doesn’t play with other kids all she wants is me”, “when will she learn to follow directions”, “I can’t wait until…” all of these things are valid – and believe me I have been there and said many myself. It is really hard to try to teach kids to behave kindly and be helpful and thankful… But at the same time, I was thinking how lucky I am to have these two precious beings in my life. How lucky am I that one of them would prefer to be with me over any other kid in the whole world even though I am grumpy some days, and the other just wants a glimpse of or cuddle from me at night so she can feel snuggly and warm as she gets her rest. These kids need me – and I need them. Motherhood is such a hard right of passage for women – as often you lose yourself in the needs of your kids, but at the same time it is just the most rewarding experience you could ever have. Every once in a while I have to pinch myself to remind me that I need to be grateful for these wonderful people in my life (including such a wonderful husband that works so hard and helps with the kids too) even when I am tired. 🙂