I knew last week was going to be a tiring one. I had even stated in this post that I was dreading it a little bit. We had our second week of 8 am swim lessons + VBS Sunday-Wednesday from 6-8pm. These are both things that I very much enjoyed, I just knew that it was going to be exhausting for all of us because our wake up time would be earlier and our bed time would be later. (The girls lost at least 2 hours of sleep each night, which can be a lot for their age, especially so many nights in a row).
I get up around 5:30 each morning so I'm used to getting up early, but our kids are not in school yet, so they are not used to such an early wake up call. We had to be out of the house by 7:30 to get to swim lessons on time, which is totally out of our routine. They typically wake up between 7:30 and 8:00, if not later. (I got a glimpse into our mornings when Raley starts Kindergarten next year. Yikes!)
Although we were tired by the end of it (let's face it - we're still catching up on sleep), it was also fulfilling and refreshing in so many ways, and I will get to that in just a minute. For now, let's chat about the "life" that happened last week!
I've stated before that I wasn't sure how Raley was going to take to swim lessons because she was so terrified to get her face in the water. She would never jump in from the side of the pool, even if we promised to catch her, because she was scared of water splashing up in her face. Audrey, on the other hand, is a little fish who loves to be thrown in the air, jump from the side, and go under water.
So how did they actually react to swimming? You may already know, but let's break it down a tad!
To my surprise they BOTH cried the entire first lesson. I expected this from Raley, but not Audrey. I think they were both just scared. They were in a new place, they didn't have their floats on, and they didn't know what to expect. That first day was hard for all of us. It is so hard to watch your child so scared and upset!
However, I loved that their teacher Ashleigh didn't let their crying cause her to back off from teaching them what they needed to learn (she obviously deals with this sort of thing frequently.) She still taught them to take a breath and put their face in the water, even if they didn't initially like it.
They started jumping from the side and swimming with their face in the water to the stairs (with help)! Audrey didn't cry at all on day 2, but Raley was still very hesitant and tearful, which I expected.
Everyone told me that Wednesday was the magic day and they were right. NO TEARS! Whoop whoop. Raley still didn't want to jump in by herself. She wanted to hold Ashleigh's hand (or pinky finger) to jump in, but she actually told me that she liked going under water and asked if we could go back to swim lessons after nap time (I was shocked!).
There was a bit of fighting later in the week when she was forced to jump in by herself without holding a hand, but after doing it a couple of times, she became more confident and less scared.
They both enjoyed floating on their back - Raley used to hate getting her ears wet, but now LOVES "relaxing" in the water.
The second week was night and day difference from the first. During this week they continued to gain confidence in jumping in, learned to kick better, Raley started opening her eyes under water (which I never thought would happen), and they learned how to find the side of the pool and get themselves out if they were to fall in. I never imagined I would see them both jump off the diving board and swim all the way to the other side of the pool after just 10 days of lessons.
If you are in the North Alabama area and are looking for a swim instructor I highly recommend The Swim Lady. She helped these girls gain confidence in the water, learn to move in the water and float on their back, and most importantly, learn water safety and how to get themselves out in case of an emergency.
I know that we still have a lot of work to do, but I'm excited to work with them and see how they will continue to improve. We went to my parents' house to swim on Saturday and they were both wanting to swim all over the place.
Someone asked me in my Q&A what my proudest mom moment so far was - seeing these girls (especially Raley) so comfortable and confident in the water after being so terrified at the beginning is definitely in my top 3 proud mom moments! It's hard to explain the joy and pride you feel for your child when you see them overcome something they're so scared of.
We've put some rules into place regarding water safety (i.e. always know exactly what/who you're swimming to and let an adult know before you take off under water.) I'm still a bit nervous that they will start swimming out into the middle of the pool, get out of breath, and not be able to get back to the side. I can already see their skills improving, but it's going to take more of a conscious effort on our part to be sure they're following the rules and staying safe.
Enjoying an after dinner s'mores
Vacation Bible School - The Greatest Show of Faith
I came into this week already feeling exhausted. Setting up for VBS is quite a bit of work (fun work, but still tiring) and my friend Ashley and I worked Thursday-Sunday getting everything ready for the week. (Many people have worked weeks to get everything ready, so I know that I have absolutely no reason to complain.) By the time Sunday night rolled around, we were thinking VBS itself was going to be a breeze!
OK so, confession: I was dreading VBS. This was my first year actually teaching a class, which meant I was in charge of completely decorating our classroom. and I was also in charge of all these Kindergartners (and if you know me, you know I'm not a huge fan of kids). I guess I was just nervous because I didn't really know what to expect, I didn't have a clear vision of how I wanted my room to look and I had never decorated a room to this extent before.
Luckily Ashley and her daughter Nikki came to the rescue. They both had great ideas and we all worked together to get our room looking pretty awesome! This part ended up being so much more fun than I imagined. But that wasn't even the best part.
This year I felt God at work. I have been involved with VBS before as a helper and I guess I sort of just felt like I was herding cats and didn't really "feel it." But this year I did.
I saw it in the kids' faces. I heard it as they were singing "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..." at the top of their lungs. I felt it as they sat and listened so attentively to the stories being told and as they eagerly answered questions. I saw it as the kids who are members welcomed the visitors and helped them feel comfortable and excited to come back the next night. Parents were telling us that their kids were coming home, telling them the Bible stories they had learned each night!
God was everywhere in that building and I am proud to have been a part of this mission. It was an overwhelming and fulfilling feeling that I had never truly experienced before (and teaching with your best friends makes it even better!) I do believe that I've caught the VBS bug and I hope to teach in years to come.
Our theme this year was "The Greatest Show of Faith," and was obviously circus themed! This theme was so much fun and everyone did an incredible job putting everything together.
A few other photos I snapped throughout the week, if you're interested:
Ok, so on top of all that there was one other big thing that happened this week:
Audrey's toddler bed transition
This girl just wants to be big too fast. We had been putting off and putting off transitioning her to a toddler bed because of the bedtime struggle we had with Raley for so long.We were finally in a good place with Raley staying in bed and everyone sleeping well, then Audrey decides to figure out how to climb out of her crib!
She started doing this at the beginning of the week and our first thought was "nope, not today kid!" We knew we'd have to make the switch soon, but we figured as long as she's not climbing out after we lay her down at night, then we'll wait until the weekend.
We ordered a new baby gate off of Amazon on Prime Day and it arrived on Friday. We installed the gate at the top of the stairs so she can't go wandering down the stairs while we're still sleeping. This seemed like as good a time as ever to just go ahead and give her big girl bed try (all we did was take the front off of her crib and add a toddler rail.) Oh boy, she was so excited! She couldn't wait to sleep in her bed. She's even refused her story and songs a couple of nights so she could hurry and lay down in her bed.
I'm hesitant to even talk about how she's doing so far because I don't want to jinx it. So I think I'll just leave it at that for now. 😉
How a busy and tiring week turned into the biggest blessing
You may (or may not) have noticed that I took a week off from writing. Pure exhaustion was a huge factor in this, but our internet going out for 2 days was the catalyst I needed to say I'm taking a break.
And it was absolutely the biggest blessing. At first I was stressing over it a little bit, but then I realized I needed to take this as an opportunity to just slow down. I needed to slow down.
The internet going down, truly was exactly what I needed in that moment. I was able to get caught up on my Bible study, do some cleaning I had been neglecting, have quiet snuggle time with my girls, and even take a nap or two!
This is even more proof that God is in control and will continue to take care of us in every situation. Yes, it seems like something so small, but it was what I needed and He knew that. This busy week that I had been dreading turned into one of my favorite weeks of the summer. I am so thankful for His hand in every bit of it. Yes, we're tired, but I wouldn't trade any minute of it.
Have you ever had something that seemed inconvenient at first turn into a blessing in disguise?