Friday, July 11, 2014

Ava's Week of Swim Lessons + Our Experience

Hi everyone! Here is a recap of our week of swim lessons for Ava: 

Monday (Day 1) 10-10:30 AM   
Ava's first swim lesson. 
This was a fun day and you can read more about it on the previous post

Later that day: 
4:00-5:00 Post nap time swim practice at home 

My friend and neighbor, Jess, and her son, Christian, came over to hang out with us while we did some swim practice at the pool. Coach Jackie encouraged Ava to practice kicking her legs and holding onto the wall by herself. 
Kisses for baby Christian(6 months old)! 

Tuesday (Day 2) 10-10:30AM  Swim Lesson 
No practice at home later that day. 

There are no pictures from Day 2 swim lessons or practice at home because, well, it was the hardest day of my life. I'm not kidding. I was mentally DRAINED. 
I knew that day 2 & 3 were going to be the hardest during the lessons being that they learn how to go under water and hold their breath. I just wasn't prepared for the length of Ava's crying and yelling out, "MOMMY!" so that I'd come and rescue her.
I'm not even going to sugar coat it... I didn't even wear mascara that day because I had a feeling I would get emotional. Oh boy did I !
 I SOBBED THE ENTIRE 30 minutes until I was allowed to go and get her. I had never heard Ava cry out for me like that. It is such a helpless feeling as a mother to hear your baby cry out for you and not be able to go and comfort her. 
In the back of my mind I just kept telling myself (and hearing) Coach Jackie comforting Ava and being very patient, kind, and gentle with her. She is a super duper professional and I really do trust her. If I didn't, there is no way IN HELL I could have stayed in my little chair balling my eyes out. I tried to keep busy by texting Mark, my mom, my mother in law, and my good friend, Jessica, the whole time as I was crying. They sent me messages reassuring me that it would be fine and that it was all for the best.

Wednesday (Day 3) 10AM-10:30AM
No pictures of Ava swimming since as I was still not allowed to be seen by Ava. I watched her at a distance but didn't want her to catch me looking. I could hear every thing that was going on. Plus, I didn't take pictures because I had a bad angle and focus. 
So this was my sad little view as I waited for her lesson to be over... 
It was a little better of a day. Ava was still frustrated but crying less. It made sitting there not as hard this time. Thank you, Ava, for making mommy not go into meltdown mode again. 

Coach Jackie said that Ava was making great progress. I was able to (while holding my own breath the whole time) watch her "fall" into the water and swim to the surface to hold onto the wall until Coach Jackie said she could let go. 
Proud mommy moment for sure! 

Later that day:
It rained.  No practice at home :( 

Thursday (Day 4) 10-10:30AM
I got to get into the water with Ava and learn how to practice with her and see all the progress that Ava has made! Ava was still not a happy camper but did a great job going through all of her new skills with me. I was pretty nervous to be the one to let her sink into the water and watch her swim to the wall. I would find myself holding my breath (and praying) that Ava would hurry up and come up for air. My stomach was in knots!!! When she would come up, it was like this huge rush of pride that came over me. I was so happy to see Ava successfully doing what she was taught to do. 

Later that day, Ava went down for a nap and my mom came over to stay at the house while I drove to Miami to pick up my grandparents. I was taking my grandmother to an appointment at Aventura hospital to get a EMG scan that I requested for her. I'm determined to figure out why my sweet grandmother is in debilitating pain...that's an entire other blog post. I ended up getting home at 7PM due to a long appt. and Aventura traffic on the dreaded Ives Dairy Road. I was very upset to be getting home so late because practicing with Ava was very important on this day and I was not able to do it. Feeling like you're not doing your part as a mother is not a great feeling
I got home and was so sad from my grandmother's doctor appointment, that I had dinner with Mark (with two glasses of red wine to calm me down) and went to bed. I ended up having bad dreams all night and woke up late on Friday morning with Ava. 

Today/ Friday (Final: Day5!) 10-10:30AM 

Today was a frazzled mess. Last night was a tough night for me when I got home. I ended up having some bad dreams and overslept with Ava until 9:10. We were rushing this morning to get to swim lessons at 10. 

Lessons went great but Ava will continue to practice as much as we can at our pool. 
She made me so proud with all the she has learned in 5 short lessons. Ava learned how to kick, turn underwater, swim to the wall, and pull herself up to the wall (to hang on and breathe.)
Photo Courtesy of Jackie Nelson Doyle

Photo Courtesy of Jackie Nelson Doyle
Photo Courtesy of Jackie Nelson Doyle

After lessons, we dried off and changed in the car. 
Hooray, Ava! 
Congrats to my little swim lessons graduate! 
She received two stickers and a toy fish! She was thrilled to get a "fishy!!" She makes little bubble noises with her lips for the fishy noise. haha

I am so happy that we chose to go with Jackie Nelson Doyle for Ava's swim lessons. 
I look forward to practicing even more with Ava and seeing how much more progress she makes. 
Thank you all for your support during this crazy week. Between Ava's lessons (my crying spells)...and my grandmother's pain/appointment/confusion with her mixed diagnosis, I am mentally and physically EXHAUSTED.   
I am beyond happy that it is Friday and will have more time with Mark to relax as much as we can this weekend together. He makes everything all better for me.  

I hope you all have a great weekend.  
I'll post Jackie Nelson Doyle's info below in case anyone is looking for a wonderful swim instructor. 

TGIF!!!!!! Here is to a great weekend and better next week! 


Jackie Nelson Doyle

(954) 242-8918

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ava's 1st Swim Lesson 7.7.14

Today was a big accomplishment for  me  Ava! 
Ok, the truth is, I have been having nightmares about Ava falling into pools, canals, name it. 
Recently, the news has been filled with toddler drownings all over South Florida. We are surrounded by water down here! 
My in-laws' home has a pool as well as the intracoastal in their backyard, our home has a lake right outside our back porch, and pretty much every other birthday party is a pool party down here. 
I knew it was time when I heard about little James. He is a little boy down here that is currently fighting for his life after a near drowning incident. You may have seen support for him all over Facebook with the Ninja Turtles pictures. He is a big Ninja Turtles fan. 
My anxiety about the drowning was just increasing as well as my other concerns about which swimming lessons were the best for Ava. 
During Mommy&Me classes several months ago, we had a very nice lady come and speak about ISR classes for babies and Mark and I thought we would go with that. They were going to be 10min a day for 6 weeks... Something was just not sitting well with me apparently because I wasn't booking those lessons. I try to always listen to my gut feeling and so I waited and kept researching. 

 Later on, as time passed, I decided I wanted more of a traditional swim lesson with Ava being more familiar with swimming rather then learning to flip, float, and wait for help as ISR teaches little ones to do. I think ISR is great for infants, but now that Ava is 1 1/2, I wanted her to begin something that seemed more age appropriate. (At the end of the day, each parent has to do with they feel is best for their child. For Ava, these classes are what we feel are best for her at this age.) 

So my search of finding a good swimming instructor was not very fun. I am on 2 "mom groups" on Facebook. They have thousands of local moms in them and as you can imagine, a lot of differing opinions - horror stories - and recommendations. 

After reading a million and one stories, I got a call from my mom about Jackie Nelson Doyle. Jackie was going to be instructing a good friend of ours' nephew. My mom and his aunt are long time friends and this is who told my mom about Jackie Nelson Doyle and the Nelson family's history in swimming lessons. Her friend's nephew would be flying down from his home in NYC to spend the week with her and attend lessons with Jackie.

I knew I couldn't put it off any longer and doing so would just be irresponsible as a parent. As Ava gets older, she is getting A LOT stronger. Opening doors and pushing heavy ones open. Watching this daily, my anxiety was growing in knowing that she is very capable of getting outside within the blink of an eye. All parents and family members watch their little ones as best as they can, but mistakes happen and so do accidents. Fatal ones. 

I trust the family very much (and their research) that gave us the recommendation and decided we would go with Jackie Nelson Doyle as well. 
She has been instructing for 35 years and is a highly referred swimming instructor down here. (Her father was an US Olympic Swim Coach!) 

So after my initial phone call to Jackie, our swim lessons were scheduled for 2 weeks later.  When I told my mother-in-law about who we chose, she reminded me that Jackie was the one who taught Ava's two uncles, Tommy(13) & Luke (11), to swim when they were Ava's age! Jackie came to their home and taught them how to swim in their pool. I felt 100000% better about my decision after that. Tommy & Luke are amazing swimmers!
Here is Ava's uncle (and Godfather) Tommy (13) recently during a swim meet. 

 I then started to plan on having Jackie come back to my mother in law's pool to teach Ava there as we were staying there the following week while they were out of town. Unfortunately, she didn't have the availability for that week. It ended up working out well though because the lessons are still private lessons and only about 5 min away from our home. 

So here are some pictures from this morning's 1st swim lesson! (I was a nervous wreck... not because I was questioning our instructor or anything like that but for other reasons. Lately, I have been reading about dry drowning incidents and getting nervous about that whole other risk. Either way, the risk of drowning far outweighs the risk of dry drowning. Jackie ended up talking to me about dry drowning and calmed my nerves once we were there.) 

Ava was excited to put on her bathing suit as she loves going to the pool. 
More excited about this book than to smile for mommy. She wouldn't even let me take a photo of her before we got in the car because she was so excited to go out the car. 

Meeting and getting to know Mrs. Jackie.

Today's 1st lesson was about getting to know each other and having fun. I was allowed to stay close by and have Ava see me there. Tomorrow, I will still be close by but will hide out. Now that Ava is comfortable with Jackie and has fun with her, I can let her focus on her swimming lessons and not me in the corner taking photos. I was really hesitant about having to leave Ava but feel better about still being able to watch her (just not be seen by her). As long as I am allowed to watch, I am happy. 

Singing songs. 
Ava was thrilled to see her buddy, Elmo, there! She kept shouting, "Elllmooo!"

Learning how to kick, kick, kick

Floating along...and more kicking

Elmo cheering Ava on

Ava did extremely well for her 1st swim lesson. I was very impressed with her comfort level with Jackie and her ability to hold onto the wall by herself so quickly. Tomorrow is a much tougher day... Ava will learn how to go under the water and probably not be too happy about possibly swallowing a little water in the process. 
I will probably be a little anxious watching her cry and call for me, but I know that Jackie knows what she's doing. In the end, Ava is going to love swimming around all on her own. She already loves being in the pool and this will give her even more independence. I can't wait to see how she is doing on Friday, her final lesson on Day 5.
I'll post again and let you know how it goes. 

After Ava wakes from her nap, I will be taking her to our pool to go over some of the things that she learned today. 

Happy Monday, everyone! 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our Fourth of July

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! Like I mentioned before, we were staying at my in-laws' house for the week and celebrated the 4th there. We just got back home today and I must say, it feels good to be home. I unpacked and am relaxing while Ava takes her nap... 
Here are some snapshots of our quiet Fourth of July as a party of 3. 
We had a little BBQ, listened to country music out back by the pool, and just relaxed outside most the day. We put Ava to bed around her usual 7:30/8pm bedtime and spent the rest of the night out back with cocktails and (cigar for Mark).  
It was nice to have a quiet Fouth of July watching the fireworks from the dock with Mark.
Him and I were talking about how in the past, our Fourth of July consisted of a bunch of friends, day drinking all day long, and staying out all night long after the fireworks... Not this year. Haha 
Although it wasn't the same, we were happy to enjoy the holiday on a smaller scale with our little family. 
We do hope that next year we plan ahead a little more and have some more of our friends with their  young families to celebrate with. Ava would like some friends too to run around with! :) 

Happy Birthday, America...until next year! 
How was your 4th?! 


Most of these photos were taken from my Instagram account @christinamcguire 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Today's Whereabouts + Happy 20 Months Ava

This morning, Ava and I headed out to take a jog around Coral Ridge in Ft. Lauderdale. We are staying at my in-laws' house for a week while they are in SC. Every summer, they take a couple trips and we offer to watch their Jack Russell, Turbo. Ava has a ton of toys here and I love it because we are closer to the beach! The more East you can get me, the happier I'll be. :) 

So off we went and made a quick stop at Coral Ridge Park. A tiny little green area but it was fenced in and Ava loved running around in there.
Once she spotted this guy, she started quacking at him. Not quite a duck, Ava, but close. 
I love being outside with her. She is instantly happier when she is out running around. 
Ava can spot the letter "A" now and gets very excited about it. 
Happy 20 months, Ava! I can't believe how fast you are growing. Only 4 more months and you are officially a 2 year old!

Ava is currently: 
* Loving her picture books. She learns so much with these kinds of books. She lights up whenever she spots something that I ask her to find. I am also loving this stage of watching just how quickly she picks up on what I teach her. 
Proud of our smart girl more and more each day.  

* She loves dancing when she hears a song she likes and moves her shoulders and bops up and down.

* She enjoys giving her stuffed animals a kiss making a big, "Muuuuah!" sound while doing it. 

* She enjoys FaceTiming her Grandma McGuire in Oregon. 

* She loves talking on a real or toy phones all day long. Jabbering along and fake laughing the whole time. This cracks me up. 

* Whenever I sneeze, she says, "Aaaaaa-chooooo!"

* She is (and always was) a beyond great sleeper (Thank you sweet baby Jesus!). She loves getting into her crib and snuggling with her musical lamb and Boo the Pomeranian. She's been taking 3 hour naps and still goes down around 7:30 PM for bed/ waking around 8 (but this morning she woke at 9AM!) 
Thank you, Ava. Mommy appreciates your sleeping skills that you definitely got from me. 

* Ava loves taking showers now! My in-laws have this huge double shower that you just walk into rather than having doors. Yesterday, rather than Ava taking a bath, I brought her into the big shower with me and she had a blast. I turned both shower heads on and she just loved switching from one side to another and having the water all over her like rain. Showers it is from now on! 

* Ava is getting to be a somewhat picky eater but that's pretty typical for this age. She knows what she wants and I am happy that she enjoys healthy foods like peas, beans, blueberries, granola, etc.

I'll wrap it up here as I can go on all day about what she does and doesn't like...

I am loving this toddler stage (even though it has melt down moments! ha) and can't wait to see what this upcoming Fall brings with lots of FSU football cheering in our home. I just know Ava will be imitating Mark the whole time...

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Can't wait to watch the Fourth of July fireworks over the water on Friday!
Now that Ava is napping, I am going to go lay out by the pool with the baby monitor before the usual South Florida summer storm rolls in.