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JUMP IN to the World's Largest Swimming Lesson!!!

This post brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.

If you're reading this, I'm sure you're shocked to find out that I'm really passionate about keeping my boys safe and reducing their chances of drowning. *sarcasm* Research shows risk of drowning can be reduced by 88 percent if children participate in formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4. Yet, a survey conducted by the American Red Cross in 2014 found that more than half of Americans (54 percent) either can't swim or don't have all of the basic swimming skills.

That's where Goldfish Swim School comes in. Goldfish is so much more than swimming lessons- it's teaching young children water safety skills that could save their life! 

This Thursday, Goldfish Swim School-Dayton is taking part in the 2018 World's Largest Swimming Lesson! You don't have to be a member to participate in this FREE event. Just bring your kiddos to Goldfish Swim School in Dayton this Thursday, June 21 from 2:00-2:30 PM!!

So what exactly is the World's Largest Swimming Lesson?

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™, created by the World Waterpark Association in 2010, is a global public relations event supported by aquatic facilities, water parks, pools, swim schools, YMCA's, among others. The WLSL event serves as a platform to help the global aquatics industry work together to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to prevent drowning. 

For 24 hours on Thursday, June 21st, hundreds of locations in more than 20 countries on five continents will spread the message, "Swimming Lesson Save Lives™!" 

If you've got little ones at home who don't know how to swim, this is the perfect way to introduce them to the fundamentals of water safety! Not to mention, you get the bragging rights of trying to beat TEAM WLSL™'s current Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson conducted at multiple venues. The official record was set in 2014 with 36,564 participants in 22 countries​!!!

If you're not a fellow Ohioan, go here to find a Goldfish Swim School location near you. And if you do participate in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson, make sure you take lots of pictures of your little water babies to share with me! I could use a break from staring adoringly at my own ;)


5 Reasons We KNOW Our Family is Complete

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsTalkPlanB #CollectiveBias #ad

Shortly after we had Crosby, I shared that We're Done Having Kids. Life with a baby and a toddler was no walk in the park and I couldn't imagine going through pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn phase for a third time. I was tired.

As the months went by and some close friends started having babies, my tune began to change. I didn't feel convicted about having a third baby, but I did have an ache for a baby girl. I love being a boy mom, but there was a small part of me that felt like I was missing out on the preciousness of having a daughter. Chuck and I contemplated it back and forth for months. We decided we'd give ourselves some more time to just live life and if by June, we felt strongly about trying for a third child, we'd give it a go.

Now that June has arrived, I can say with about 100% certainty that we are done having kids. My baby fever has subsided and I've made peace with "just" being a boy Mama. While I have no doubts that having a daughter would be an enormous blessing, there are far too many reasons why we like our family of four the way it is:

Five Reasons We KNOW Our Family is Complete

1. We don't want the added expense

The financial aspect of a bigger family is a huge motivating factor for us. I still have a lot of student loan debt that we want to pay off before it's time to start paying for the boys' education. And although I know it's not a priority for every family, we also really want to be able to afford to give our children the experiences of travel and whatever extracurriculars they might eventually want to pursue. Travel is a huge shared interest for Chuck and me, and we want to expose our children to fun new places from a young age.

2. We don't want three kids!

Two is a handful. Three? I legit don't know how other families do it. We like the freedom that comes with being able to play "man to man" defense with our kids. Chuck will frequently take Charlie out to the playground to play with his same-aged cousin while Crosby and I enjoy some one-on-one time at home. It gives us a little bit of time to breathe only having to look after one kid at a time.

3. We don't feel like there's someone missing

I know it sounds silly, but this was a piece of advice I often heard when trying to decide whether we wanted to remain a family of four- and I get it! Before we even got pregnant, I knew that Crosby was the missing piece of our family. It was this phantom feeling of not having someone in our house who I knew belonged there. Although we would obviously accept a third child into our home and hearts, I don't feel that our family is incomplete the way it is now.

4. I physically don't want to have another child

I know a lot of women enjoy pregnancy, but I don't count myself among them. I didn't hate pregnancy, I kind of just tolerated it as a means to an end. And childbirth? You remember I had two natural births, right? I really don't care to experience the pain of childbirth and the postpartum recovery that comes with it a third time. Not to mention, an additional year of breastfeeding! I had four years of not feeling like I had ownership over my own body and it kind of messed with my brain. For the first time since I got pregnant with Charlie in March of 2014, my body is mine alone. I'm enjoying reclaiming my post-baby body.

5. I don't want anyone to be left out

The thing that always bothered me about having three kids is I feared that one kid would always be left out. And with Charlie and Crosby being so close in age, it would likely be the youngest. Basically, if I didn't want any of my children to be "odd man out," I'd have to have four kids. An older Mom-of-3 friend of mine pretty much confirmed this for me. I want an even number of kids, but I don't want four kids, so this seems pretty straight forward.

I know there are a lot of women like me who want to take control of their family planning and design their family unit to be what works for them. And for those women, Plan B One-Step emergency contraception can be a really good option.

Plan B One-Step is designed to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Plan B is NOT an abortion pill and works by delaying ovulation to prevent pregnancy before it even happens. The active ingredient, levonorgestrel, is the same ingredient in many common birth control pills – just at a higher, single dose and does NOT impact a woman's long-term fertility. You do not need to have an ID or prescription to purchase Plan B, but you do need to take it as early as possible- the sooner you take it, the better it works!

Whether you're a single woman or a mom of two, if you want to take control of your family planning and are actively trying to prevent pregnancy, know that Plan B One-Step is a safe option for emergency contraception. If you feel that Plan B One-Step could be right for you, be sure to check out this $10 off coupon that can be used at CVS or your local pharmacy.


Life Lately v6

Ahh, the ol' fallback life lately post. You know, for when you have this inexplicable need to document your entire life for the internet to see, but you're too busy with real life to find the time?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed some changes happening. I'm mentally drafting a blog post on the journey that led me to my new role as a (once again) full-time working and commuting Mama Bear. However, the last few weeks have been literally nonstop and I'm just completely depleted of the mental energy that said post requires. So, in the meantime, you get this: 

What's been happening in my life lately...

ON THE NEW JOB...I officially had my last day of training today which feels great, albeit mildly terrifying. Thankfully the woman who I'm eventually replacing is at the office full-time and then part-time beginning in August. She's fantastic and such a great lady. I feel lucky that I get to follow in her footsteps. My other co-workers seem like genuinely kind, generous and warm people too and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

ON THE FARMERS' MARKET...Summer Farmers' Market season is back in full swing as of the first weekend in June! I'm co-managing for my second year and though it's sooo much work, I love it dearly. All our vendors are fantastic and I just love being involved in our community in this way. 

ON WEDDING SEASON...We attended the wedding of one of Chuck's high school buddies in May and then one of my college besties got married a few weeks ago. I love love and I love weddings. You can always count on me to be the first person on the dance floor, and the last one off of it. We had a little bit of a wedding dry spell the last few years, but our friends are getting hitched left and right this year and it's so much fun!

ON RUNNING...I'm still just chugging away. Not much has happened since my last running update and I still haven't registered for a race yet, because 1. My schedule is insane and I have no free weekends and 2. I still don't feel like I'm 100% ready. Maybe like, 85-90% there. I did, however, make the single best running discovery- Nike Tempo shorts. I always thought it strange how anyone would want those built-in mesh, underwear thingys they have in some running shorts and never wanted them for myself. I needed some more running shorts and there was a super good deal for the Nike shorts on WikiBuy, so I ordered them (not knowing they had the built-in mesh). Let me tell you- that mesh is a game-changer. Total overshare, but now I don't have to worry about my underwear riding up my butt or an overabundance of sweat in my lady area. They are the best!!!

ON THE BOYS...Somehow, Charlie is 3.5 this month and I've officially enrolled him in preschool for the Fall. I won't say I miss the baby stage, because I just adore watching this little boy turn into the man he's meant to be, but dang, time really does fly. Crosby's second birthday is approaching at the beginning of September. I've played with a couple ideas for his birthday party, but it's quite possible that we'll have another small little gathering at our local park like last year because life isn't going to be slowing down any time soon! 

Both boys have done so well with the transition to being with their childcare provider five days a week. Crosby full-on clings to me like a koala bear when we get home in the evening, but honestly, that's nothing new, so I think he's doing okay. Charlie has been wearing undies to daycare for the last few weeks which is a big step for him. Though he isn't officially night-trained, we've got a potty-using, soon-to-be preschooler on our hands!

ON CHUCK...As usual, my sweet husband is as steadfast as ever. Since my return to the working world, he's been put on morning/drop-off duty. I know it hasn't been easy on him, but he's been tackling it like a champ (even if the boys occasionally look like they dressed themselves in the dark. Haha!) He's had to become much more hands-on with the boys, in general, since both my jobs have been keeping me crazy busy. He's as supportive as they come, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in parenthood.

So tell me, what's new with you? What's on your Summer Bucket List?


This Unnatural Phenomenon Called Marriage

It's after 2:00 AM the night before my first day at a brand new job. As I've gotten older, I've become worse and worse at sleeping. It's my Mama Bear instincts. I can sense when everyone is safely home and tucked into their beds even while I'm virtually unconscious. As Chuck is a night owl and frequently stays up late into the night to binge-watch his latest show, this is problematic. I will not sleep restfully until he is in bed. The flip side of this is that I'm also a ridiculously light sleeper and I'm constantly awoken by Chuck's snoring when he is in bed. This is not even taking into account that 9 nights out of 10, one of our boys will awake in the weest hours of the morning. It's a wonder I can function at all.

That was an awfully verbose way of saying that although I should absolutely be asleep so that I'm well-rested for my first day on the job, I am wide awake and my brain won't allow me to resume sleeping until I put down the words that are circulating in my brain.

Hours ago, we arrived home from a very brief weekend trip to Philly to watch one of my best friends marry the love of her life. It was a wonderful, love-filled weekend with old friends and it gave me much to ruminate on about marriage, and obviously my relationship to the guy whose name I took nearly six years ago.

The last year has absolutely been the hardest one of our still-young marriage. We've been together for 7.5 years, so it's fair to say that our honeymoon phase is over. Parenting two young boys also added an entirely new dynamic to our relationship. My energy and attention has all but been completely consumed by those precocious little ginger-haired boys, and Chuck has far too often fallen to the bottom of my list of daily priorities.

We both recognize that we're in an exhausting season, and so giving each other a lot of grace has been the name of our game. But grace doesn't negate the fact that it's still hard. In the last year, the valleys of our marriage have revealed a lot about us as a couple, and have revealed to me, a lot about myself as a person and as a wife.

Anyone who has known Chuck his entire life knows that marriage and a family were always his endgame. This man was destined to be a husband and father. It was (and is) one of the things that made me fall for him. Marriage comes naturally to Chuck. Maybe not always easily, but always naturally. Me? Marriage comes neither naturally or easily. I am a perfect mess of independent, free-spirited and commitment-phobe.

Anyone who has known me for my entire life knows this to be true, as well. I don't try to be flakey, but I'm a head-in-the-clouds, dreamer who has a new life's goal and purpose every other day. It's not that I don't want to commit to anything. It's that life is short and I want to do everything. I don't want to be tied down to one job, one location, one dream. I want to see and do it all! So while this gives me inspiration and motivation to never stop learning and exploring. It also can make me flakey, and if I'm being honest, a less-than-stellar partner.

A few months ago, after a particularly rough and disconnected winter, Chuck and I lay in bed until 2:00 or 3:00 AM discussing our issues and our plans to tackle them head-on. There was a lot of transformative and revealing things that were said and taken in over the course of that conversation, but the thing that stuck with me was the realization that I haven't been a team player. I launched into sob stories about how hard mothering has been and how I need to do A, B, and C to survive. I shared my wants, my needs, and my priorities. For every "I" and "me" I used, Chuck countered with an "us" and a "we." It floored me that we have been married going on six years and I was only now discovering this about myself. Independent and self-sufficient are not inherently bad qualities. But I haven't simply been independent in our relationship. I've been really stinkin' selfish.

Fortunately, for me, I married just about the most selfless person I've ever known. And so, Chuck has been teaching me what it means to do what is right not for you, but for your marriage. He has been teaching me to shift my thinking from "me" to "we." He is teaching me to dig in my heels when the going gets tough. He is teaching me that while there is beauty in newness and adventure, there is also beauty in commitment and steadfastness.

I haven't loved Chuck the way he deserves to be loved in the last year. But I'm a work in progress. And thankfully, I have the best partner, best friend, and best teacher to help guide me through this unnatural phenomenon called marriage.