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11.27.2020

Unwrap the Gift of Water Safety

 This post is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School-Dayton.



Announcing 2020 Holiday Packages

Most of you know by now that I've been thrilled to partner with Goldfish Swim School- Dayton for the last few years. They have the absolute best staff and their program is dedicated to not only teaching kids the fundamentals of swim safety, but just plain having fun in the water!

That's why I'm so excited to help announce the release of their 2020 Holiday Packages! If you know me, you know I could do without the clutter and consumerism of the holidays. I'm all about skipping the plastic toys and giving my boys experiences. This Christmas, you can give a gift that will create fun experiences and lasting memories for the entire family. A gift that will bring out their full potential and build confidence in and out of the water.

 

Make a Big Splash: 
Two-Month Holiday Package ON SALE now! 

This is perfect for new Goldfish members or those not currently enrolled. In addition to swimming every week for 2 months they also are waiving your annual Membership fees, giving you a super cute book featuring Bubbles the Fish, a bookmark with stickers, a holiday ornament, Goldfish Tote, and a swim diaper or member t-shirt!
**Only 50 of these packages are available so get yours before they swim away!!

Swim and Save: Build your own Package!

When you purchase $500 in family credit Goldfish will gift you $50 more!  Or purchase $1000 and get $100. Then the rest is up for you to decide.  Your child or children can swim once or twice a week. Or buy new towels, goggles, or suits!  This option is perfect and flexible for whatever your family wants!  

Think this gift is just for parents to give? Think again!

The best part is that Goldfish has a brand new online store where these packages can be purchased at your convenience. Simply create your account and purchase the package perfect for your fish. This has been a top seller for aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents each year and this year is no different! If you would like assistance with your purchase you can always call the amazing Goldfish staff at 937-972-0177, email at swimdayton@goldfishss.com, or stop by their front desk!

Special Offer for friends of (Bee)autiful Blessings! 

Have you been thinking about signing up your kiddos for swim lessons, but not sure if you're ready to take the plunge? I have amazing news! Use my referral code to get your first lesson absolutely FREE! No strings attached.



9.21.2020

Finding our New Normal



As if parenting during a pandemic wasn't eventful enough with hybrid school and remote learning, the past few weeks have seen so much happen in our life. Chuck and I shared our 8th wedding anniversary, I've lost count of the number of family members' birthdays we've celebrated, and I just got back from standing in as a bridesmaid for one of my my college besties. Life isn't slowing down for us anytime soon, so it feels nice that Saturdays have become the one day a week where life feels somewhat reminiscent of normal. With no alarms set, we enjoy our slow mornings followed by our weekly family outing to Goldfish Swim School- Dayton



We took an extended break from swimming lessons when I started back to work full-time. It wasn't manageable with trying to study for my licensing exams. Now that we're back, it feels even more special to watch how far my boys are coming in their swim skills. They were basically still babies (in my mind, anyway) when we stopped going and while they were on the cusp of being able to climb out of the pool independently, they were essentially just flopping around in the water.



Now that they're 4 and 5, I can literally watch week-by-week as their skills improve. We returned in June and in that short amount of time, Charlie has started floating without assistance, he's working on his front-stroke and is comfortable going underwater for diving rings. He has seriously amazed me with how much he has picked up just in his half hour lessons! Crosby is obviously younger and has always been the more timid and trepedatious one of the two. And though he's still working on his skills, just his attitude change toward swim lessons has been monumental. There was a point when the thought of getting into the pool would turn both my boys' mood instantly sour. We made it through tears and uncooperative tantrums to genuine excitement each and every week. 



It's a testament to their emotional development, but it also speaks to the model that Goldfish uses. Their "The Science of Swimplay" philosophy creates a safe space for kids to learn swim skills, but genuinely have fun doing it. Their instructors are wonderful and my kids are learning life-saving skills while just playing and being kids. I'm a big believer in teaching through play and I can see it paying off in my own boys.

As we approach winter and COVID doesn't appear to be leaving us anytime soon, I'm grateful to have an outlet for the boys to get out their physical energy and in a safe and sanitary venue. If you want to read more of my thought's on Goldfish's COVID response you can check it out here!

9.04.2020

What I Want to Tell my Best Friend on her Wedding Day

I'm writing this from a Best Western hotel room on the Eastern shore of Maryland. I didn't know I would be here until a few months ago, but as we now know, 2020 has become the year of loss, change, and rolling with the punches. And today, I'm sitting here having some much-needed introvert time as I prepare to help one of my best friends marry the love of her life tomorrow.

I've been wanting to come back to this space for so long. There is so much I want to catch up on and so much life and many blessings to be documented. But being a full-time working parent during the pandemic has been harder than I know how to articulate. It has required every ounce of my physical, emotional and mental energy just to survive this time, so blogging has once again...fallen by the wayside.

However, after a day or two spent child-free and left alone to my own devices, I've felt that creative buzz creep its way back into the recesses of my mind. I had ideas for things I wanted to do during my solo weekend- perhaps a drive along the bay, or some time with my nose in a book, but mostly I've just been listening to my body. So far, she's directed me to an early morning run, all the seafood I can consume, and of course, the first love of my life- writing.



I've had a lot of time to think about love and marriage. Before I departed on my 8 hour drive east, Chuck and I enjoyed a quick breakfast date at our favorite hometown coffee shop (if you ever find yourself in little podunk Wilmington, Ohio please be sure to stop into Kava Haus!) to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary (obligatory link to our throwback wedding photos). Every anniversary date, we try to be intentional about reflecting on what we learned in the last year of marriage. We talk about where we failed each other, how we can serve each other better in the coming year, and what our favorite moments of the last year were. Some people measure time beginning January 1. For us, time is measured year by year beginning September 2- the day we became a family. 

In our eighth year together, I can genuinely say this is the best love I've known. There was no way for 24-year old me to know how she and her partner would evolve and how they would grow together, but I wish I could tell her how little she truly knew what love was on that day. Not in a condescending way, but in an optimistic way that would leave her with the hope of better days to come in that sixth year after the birth of her second child- oof, it was a doozy. 

In our eighth year together, selfishness hasn't been completely abolished, but we do a really good job taking care of each other. Our life rambles on with a certain rhythm and cadence and we are constantly attuned to our partner's wants and needs. 

"Did you have a stressful day at work? Why don't I take the kids to the park so you can have a couple hours of down time?" 

"Are you missing your spiritual community? I'll make breakfast Sunday morning so you can relax in bed with your Zoom worship."

"Are you feeling grief over the memory of your lost parent? May I comfort you or do you want to cry alone?"

The best thing we've learned together is the simplest and hardest of things- to put each other's needs first. Because strangely and perhaps even counter-intuitively, we are at our best and our marriage is at its best when we stop thinking about what we need and begin thinking about what our partner needs. And when you trust that your partner is taking care of you, you can stop obsessing over taking care of yourself. There is peace to be found in that ebbing and flowing, and picking up, and putting down. It is the result of so many missteps, so much patience, so much humility, so much time, energy and intentionality. And it is one of the most beeautiful things in the world.

So as I think about my sweet college roomie marrying the man she has waited so long for. And as I think about the young couples in my life embarking upon this winding, trial-filled, and miraculous journey, the best advice I can give them is this- the only secret to a happy marriage is to take care of each other.


8.10.2020

A (Non-Conspiracy) Theory for Putting Out 2020's Epic Dumpster Fire

I wrote this post a few weeks ago and sat on it before hitting "publish." I didn't want to sound naive and tone deaf. However, reading it back, I think it's still worth sharing what's been weighing on my heart these last few months as the world seems to burn around us. 



Every Saturday morning, Chuck and I drive the boys to their swimming lessons at Goldfish Swim School in Dayton. We live in a fairly rural area so it's a solid 40 minute drive. Because we both work full-time Monday-Friday, it often feels like we barely see each other during the work week. We hustle at our 9-to-5's, I scramble to make dinner before he gets home, and then he will either take the boys to the park so I can get things accomplished around the house, or we try to have some semblance of decompression while our maniacs run rampant until it's time to initiate bath and bedtime.

Those 40-minute drives on Saturday mornings are our opportunity to catch up from the chaos of the week and check-in with each other. Those 40-minute drives are when our best conversations happen.

This past weekend, like most couples are these days I'm sure, we were discussing current events. We both expressed how surreal it is to be living through a time that will be written about in history books. Just as people who lived through WWII and The Great Depression did, this is real life. It is just such a strange time to be in this world.

My range of emotions about living in the time of Coronavirus has run the gamut. Some days I'm doing okay and appreciate that I work for a responsible organization who is working tirelessly to keep its employees safe. I appreciate the fact that I have the capability to work remotely from home- mere minutes from my children and their schools. But most days, my highly-sensitive, empathetic nature proves to be as much a curse as it is a blessing. Some days I am just depressed and tired of feeling, and hurting, and watching helplessly as the world seemingly burns to the ground. 

I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way, but with everyone in isolation the loneliness and separation from my community can mess with my head. It's also unfortunate that during a time when we need to be in solidarity more than ever, our politics only continue to divide us. Here's the thing I've been thinking about, though. It's not unique for their to be political contention in an election year, but I'm exhausted of the fight being marketed as being between Democrats vs. Republicans, Right vs. Left, Liberals vs. Conservatives. 

The fight is not Americans vs. Other Americans. The fight should be Americans vs. Coronavirus. The fight should be Americans vs. Political Corruption. The fight should be Americans vs. Racism, Xenophobia, and other types of bigotry that are hurting us collectively. The talking heads, the media, and the institutions that yield their power over us may have us distracted and believing the fight is amongst ourselves, but it's not. 

It's deeply upsetting to me that freedom, liberty, and patriotism- the values that we pledge our allegiance to- have become synonyms for selfishness and narcissism. I was young when 9/11 happened, but it was the first event to awaken my political consciousness. And while I may not have fully understood the gravity of what had happened, nor what terrorism even was, I witnessed Americans coming together- unifying- against a common enemy. We stood together and both physically and metaphorically had each other's backs. We had a leader who grieved alongside us and inspired us. 

What happened to America circa 2001? I have my theories. However, I don't think this country needs another conspiracy theorist with a blog. What this country is in dire need of is KINDNESS and EMPATHY. I am not suggesting that issues like systemic racism and voter suppression can be done away with some random acts of kindness. But I am suggesting that perhaps, kindness and empathy could cure a lot more smaller pains and evils. And maybe if we're not so all-consumed by the smaller issues, we'll each have more capacity to confront the larger, scarier and more complex ones. 

Perhaps, I'm way off base and I'm taking a naive and simplistic approach. But I'm willing to be wrong if it means that people in my immediate community feel more heard, more loved, more encouraged, more inspired, and more understood. 

7.20.2020

Getting Back to Goldfish

This post has been sponsored by Goldfish Swim School- Dayton.




It's hard to believe we've been living this COVID life for over four months now. I'm a homebody and an introvert so it would appear that I would be built for sheltering at home, but even I'm struggling with the lack of community and structure. Because I have family members who are either immuno-compromised or at high-risk because of age or pre-existing conditions, we've definitely been erring on the side of caution. Everyone in our family masks-up when we're in public and we only leave the house to visit with family or for essential shopping like groceries. 

I really wanted the boys to continue taking swimming lessons this summer. However, I struggled with whether a children's activity could be deemed as "essential." I mean, I didn't want to put anyone at risk just to get my kids out of the house once per week. After giving it some thought, and a swim safety PSA from my blogger friend Erica at Whimsical September, I concluded that for us- the risk of my boys' drowning due to not being able to swim independently felt like just as much of a life-or-death risk as COVID-19. I know not every parent may have come to the same conclusion we did, but after a month of lessons back at Goldfish Swim School- Dayton, I feel 100% that we made the right call. 



After Ohio's lockdown order in March, Goldfish Dayton reopened at the beginning of June with every possible safety precaution in place (Check out their Coronavirus response here). They've closed changing rooms to get parents and guests in and out of the facility as quickly as possible. Upon arrival, guests are asked to wait outside until the previous classes are dismissed and exiting the pool. All staff members (except instructors in the pool) are masked and a staff member guides each family through a symptoms checklist at the door before they're granted entrance. In between classes, chairs in the waiting area are sanitized and only one caregiver from each household is permitted inside the facility. Chuck and I change the boys into their swim gear in the back of our SUV and then change them back into dry clothes in the car. It makes for a very quick and efficient entrance/exit and I've been genuinely impressed with how smooth the whole process is. 

On top of all this, they've also made check-in touchless with some help from their new Goldfish on the Go app! With their mobile app, you can keep track of your class bookings- including cancellations and scheduling make-up classes. You can handle all of your billing and payments, receive news and announcements, and they are also moving to all digital evaluations so you'll always know how your kiddos are progressing. I've sincerely loved the app so much and it has enhanced our Goldfish experience that much more.



I never want to sound like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, so to speak. But I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about the staff and facility at Goldfish Swim School- Dayton. Their managers and teachers genuinely love each and every student and are so patient. I know water can be a scary experience for some kids (and mine have been especially trepidatious over the years), but Goldfish always makes it such a positive experience for them and allows them to learn at their own pace.

If you're in the Dayton area and have been thinking about enrolling your children in swim lessons, don't sleep on Goldfish- Dayton. They recently added more class times and they're filling up quickly, so register now!


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