Swim, boy! Swim!

The boys started private swimming lessons yesterday. For the next two weeks they will go daily (not counting the weekends) and at the end they are guaranteed to be swimming all on their own.

At first I was scepticle. I mean, this woman didn't know my children. She didn't know how strong willed and stubborn they can be when they are afraid to do something. But, she's not called the Swim Nazi for nothin'.

When she got there, she told me that I needed to sit on the side, not saying a word or clapping. All I needed to do was smile if they looked my direction. Sounds a lot easier than it actually was.

Immediately she had the Monkey going under water and coming up screamig. It was painful for me to watch. It was crazy how scared the poor little guy was. Every mother instinct in my body wanted to tell him, "It's okay. You're allright." But I did as the teacher told me and I only sat there and smiled the biggest fake smile I could muster.

The Cheese was scared too, but he didn't cry. I could tell that he was trying to be so brave, but his nerves showed through his shivering body. It was so great to see that he trusted her right away, and I have full confidence that he will be turning into a fish in no time.

Her techniques are simple--so simple that I would never have thought to do them. She also has patience that I would never have. They might cry, they might whine about being cold, but she doesn't let them stop or give up. When most parents would say, "That's okay, baby. We'll try again later." She makes them go for it again.

She also has them praise themselves. When they do a good job she tells them, "Say 'I did it!'." And through their mouths filled with water, they manage to say it.

She told me yesterday, "Today will be bad and tomorrow will be worse." And it was. The Cheese was fine, actually excited, about going back to lessons today. But the Monkey told me all day, "I don't want to go to the big pool." I tried to talk it up, tell him what a big boy he will be when he learns to swim all by himself, but that it stop him from screaming when it was time to get in the water.

He wasn't too happy about the whole thing, but that's not keeping him from learning to swim. He is already going underwater, kicking and grabbing onto the side--the main things that you want them to know how to do. (For me, these lessons are about safety, not technique.)

I also want them to learn how much fun it is to swim. I was never particularly good at it, but I used to love to go swimming and I want my boys to experience that same kind of fun. Besides, we live in Southern California where swimming is a way of life.

Readable moment ruined

Yesterday I was stopped by a cop. Not pulled over, just stopped from being able to drive any further.

A cop car was stopped in the middle of a very busy street where we live. His lights were on, his door was open, and I started to wish that I had picked a different lane. As I watched him get out of his car, I thought I might be witness to some great police bust--eye witness to the five o'clock news.

But the cop wasn't stopping traffic because of a traffic violator or some other such nonsense. No, he had stopped traffic to ensure that a mama duck and her ducklings would make it safely across the street. How great is that?

Thank goodness one of my boys was in the car.

"Look, Buddy! Look who the police man is helping to cross the street."

My son immediately began to giggle has he watched the ducklings waddling behind their mama. Suddenly, the old teacher in me wondered where my copy of Make Way for Ducklings was located. (If you're not familiar with this book, it's about the same exact thing.)

So I came home and looked and looked for that darn book and it was no where to be found. And the crazy thing is that I actually own 2 copies of it (one that I bought and one that was given to me back when I was in a children's lit class in college.) So there was NO WAY that I was going to run out and buy one even though it was a perfect teachable reading moment for my son.

If they're not here, that means that they are sitting in a box labeled "classroom books" in our storage unit in Oklahoma. I must say, there have been few things that I've missed in that storage unit that we are paying $86 a month to store, but that darn book is definitely one of them.

So, a day later, I'm tempted to go to the library to find a copy but I'm sad that the moment has passed and my son has moved on to bigger and more interesting things like dressing up as an OU Sooner football player for Career Day tomorrow at school.

Won't you be my neighbor?

Tonight, as I was trying to clean up dinner, the door bell rang. We've lived in California for almost two years now, and the only time our door bell has ever rung is when the UPS man is making a delivery. The few friends we've made here usually call before they come and we weren't expecting any packages...so the ringing door bell came a quite a surprise.

I let the Golfer answer, just to be on the safe side. The boys took off after him, the Monkey with only a T-shirt and big boys pants on. It was about the time that I turned off the water that I heard the Golfer say, "That's so nice of you."

Well, I then of course had to see who it was that he was talking to. Turns out, it was one of our new neighbors down the street. They had brought us a beautiful pot of tulips as a "Welcome to the neighborhood" gift. I was pleasantly surprised. In all of my ten years of home owning, I have never had someone welcome me/us so warmly before.

The husband and wife explained that they had just moved into the neighborhood themselves about seven months ago. Recently married, they had seen us move in and just wanted to "come and introduce themselves." We chatted for a brief moment, all saying that we hoped to see each other around the neighborhood soon, and they left.

"Now that was nice," the Golfer said as we shut the door. And I totally agree. They walked all the way down the street, a street that is fairly new to them, just to offer a warm greeting. For me, it just confirmed that we bought the right house.

Our immediate next door neighbors have been just as nice. We chatted over the iron fence last week and they happily gave us some home owner's association info that we were still needing. The wife even came by last night to give us an old association newsletter, just so we could see what it was like.

Thoughtfulness. I thought it was dead. But apparently, it is alive and well here in Southern California. Who knew!?!

California homeowners

Just one week after moving in, there are actually a couple of rooms worth photographing.

This is the downstairs 1/2 bath. Not a bad little place to use the potty. It says, "Here--come and sit and take a look at all of our beautiful artwork."

This is our loft/boys TV room/my office. The Golfer built all of these bookshelves (via IKEA) and I love them. Now I actually have a place to put all of my books instead of on the floor next to my bed. Notice how small the television is. The boys have to huddle together just to watch it. The Golfer cringes every time he looks at it.

This is a little part of the formal living room. This wall makes me happy. Why? The large painting was my grandparent's. Two of the other pieces the Golfer and I bought on our honeymoon. My friend Kim gave me the saint statue as a present. And the marble on top of the iron table came out of the very first house that we ever owned. Lots of meaning in that little corner.

This is our new family room. The boys are afraid of the furniture. Might have something to do with the fact that every time they get near it I yell, "Are your hands clean!!!" I still need to buy some Scotch Guard. And through those windows? Yes, that would be our NEW BACK YARD!

This is the utility room. I love that--for the first time--I have a real utility room. I also love that it's green. It almost makes doing laundry fun.

More pictures to come. More organizing to do.

Change is manditory. Growth is optional.

It's time for me to grow.

For the past year, I've been blogging for Disney's new website, Family.com. I was one of the "Family Bloggers." It was a great gig. It brought in some really good extra money for me and my family at a time that we really needed it. But then last week I received this "Dear John" letter.

As I mentioned in earlier emails we are changing the strategy for family bloggers on Family.com and unfortunately we can no longer support our current direction. As such, we will no longer use Hugs and Kisses blog. I would like to thank you for your talent and efforts. Your blogs have provided us with great content for the launch of the site.

Yep. Mickey was kicking me to the curb.

They went on to say that they loved my writting, wanted to keep me in mind for future freelancing opportunities. Blah, blah, blah. They said that they were making the blogs "more serviceable and less personal" which makes since considering the site's contents (lots of information about food, entertainment, and travel.) I understood, I really did. But the truth is, I've never actually been fired from something before. And the thing that really sucks is that I really liked the blogging that I was doing for them (especially when the paycheck came.)

When I get upset I tend to use the word "really" a lot.

But instead of sulking, I decided that I would just keep on blogging. Who needs that dumb ol' mouse and his deep pockets anyway! That's when I came up with "Tweet."

As I wrote over in the sidebar, this new blog is the ugly step-sister to my website, http://www.mamawantsmore.com/. Tweet is a lot less formal and official looking than the website and allows me to not only write everyday (like any good writer should do) but also share it with all of you lovely people.

And best of all? There's no Mouse to answer to.