National Learn to Swim Day is May 18, 2013 (that’s THIS Saturday.) While the day is devoted to reminding families about the importance of kids learning how to swim before summer really kicks off, learning to swim goes much further beyond just one day. As I mentioned previously on the blog, we are big proponents in getting kids to learn how to swim as early as possible. Here in Wyoming we don’t have the luxury of neighborhood or private pools like many do further south, so we have to work a little harder to get our kids to learn (though it isn’t any less important.)
“Whether a child is in a bathtub or at a backyard barbeque, whenever a body of water is present, the risk of drowning exists….It is important that adults are aware of the risk factors, and educate both themselves and their children about water safety not only on National Learn to Swim DAy, but throughout the year as well.” - Mario Vittone, former Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer and water safety expert
Ways to participate in National Learn to Swim Day this year:
Sign your children up for summer swim lessons
Go out and buy a swim aid (SwimWays makes really great ones and you can find a $5 off coupon on their site!)
Have a conversation as a family about the importance of learning to swim and make a commitment to do so this summer
Go swimming as a family! Don’t have a public pool nearby? Break out the kiddie pool or just fill up the bathtub and splash around. Getting kids used to water is the first step in learning how to swim.
Have kids that are already great swimmers? Print out this certificate provided by SwimWays and present it to them while you emphasize how proud you are for the progress they have made and encourage further learning.
Swim Ways has a great site dedicated to helping families learn how to swim (and to teach swimming) over at www.teachmetoswim.com
Will be participating by hitting up the local hot spring (I know how that must sound, but it is the shallowest pool around here within 80 miles!) and doing some family splashing. We will also be discussing with the kids why we want them to learn to swim (whether that sinks in or not right now) and the possible dangers of the fast-moving Gardner River that is so close to home.
Are YOU on board? How do you make sure your kids know how to swim?? And how young do you think is appropriate to start?
I am a memory-keeper. I think it is one of the reasons I love to blog so much. Since I was very young (about seven years old) I have been documenting snippets of my life. Sure it started out with “what I got for Christmas” and progressed into an embarrassing amount of pages upon pages about my crushes and the drama that is the teenage years.
But, I like to think the writing has matured as I have and so I document still. Here on this blog, in digital scrapbook pages I try to squeeze in every month, in a prayer journal and through my camera. Not only am I capturing memories, but, more importantly, I am learning about myself and navigating through this crazy life as I reflect. Sometimes those reflections are ones I look back on and shake my head about. Others bring back feelings and memories I had forgotten. And still others help remind me about what is important in life – the little things that tug at my heart and my soul that so easily are lost in the chaos of life with little ones.
I personally think some sort of memory-keeping and reflection is something that everyone should do. It doesn’t need to be “Pinterest-Perfect” or even anything you choose to share. It just becomes a way to make life a little more meaningful.
In our family, we just started an “Adventure Journal” to record days of fun as a family. It is raw and far from perfect. The words are a bit scribbled in (I am so much better at typing than hand-writing now…eek!) and there are certainly holes. I have dreams of taping in photos and letting the kids add to it as they get older. It is no sight to behold, but it is ours and is something our children will be able to look back on in the years to come.
Other ways to document/keep memories:
Keep a small journal with your tent or your camper or in your cabin (should you be so lucky) – record what you did when life slowed down just a little. Write about games you played, weather you had, how dirty everyone ended up, etc.
Take a photo a day. Label it and keep it however you would like. Print them out, scrapbook them or add them to a blog. I did this for the year P was born and I love to look back on it. Maybe next year I’ll do it again…
Record funny sayings and quotes your kids say….
Write a prayer journal and just record what comes to mind
Keep a food/exercise journal
Use Instagram and try to add to it every day. Keep it private if you don’t want anyone else seeing your photos.
Scribble notes. Draw pictures. Doodle. Let yourself be.
Write letters once a year to your children. Include photos from the year or small trinkets that show them how much you love them.
Fill up a pad of sticky notes with just STUFF.
Record races/events you have done
Park to Paradise 2013 (First place!)
Improve your photos with ShotRockers:
Much of my documentation is through the photos I take. I have owned an SLR camera (Canon Rebel XTi to be exact) for years now and embarassingly have not ventured much further than the “auto” setting. I always had intentions of doing great things with photography, but decided to focus on the memory-keeping and my small children for this stage of my life (and that’s ok!)
However, I have decided it is not ok to own a $700+ camera that I really don’t know how to use. When I was given a chance to check out ShotRocker‘s Beginning Photography Course ($119), I jumped on it (though admittedly assumed I knew everything I would be taught.)
I have been shockingly impressed with the course and recommend it to anyone who owns an SLR camera. It is something I should have done seven years ago.
**Note – I am still learning….a lot….so if these photos don’t blow you away (which they won’t), it isn’t a reflection of the course….**
Here’s what I love about it:
The course is set up so that you do one short lesson (no longer than 15 minutes) every day for about a month. It is easy for even the busy working parent to fit in. I can usually keep my kids busy for 15 minutes at a time while I watch and then they are happy to head outside and play while I practice what I learned.
Each video lesson also comes with a PDF file of notes for easy reference when you are outside shooting (or for quick reference later).
The basics are really broken down and the language is easy for beginners to understand. Because each camera is different, you will be referencing your manual, but it helps just understand your own camera that much better.
The class is open for a year so you can take your time if you need to and refer back to it often.
It is drastically less than you would pay for a physical sit-in class. While I personally love to have interactions with other people when I take classes, it is rarely possible in this stage of my life. This set-up works perfectly.
Each lesson reviews what you learned previously, is just enough challenging to keep you engaged and yet is broken into “bite-size” pieces that are possible to “swallow” in a day.
What I wasn’t so crazy about:
While I know it is impossible, it sure would be awesome to have the class tailored completely to MY camera. However, having to look back at my manual has admittedly been very beneficial as I familiarize myself with my camera.
Tony at ShotRockers has done a fantastic job. I would recommend this course to anyone buying an SLR camera as a way to get your feet wet, truly understand your camera and have some quick and easy guidance through the process. I am certainly still in the learning stages, but appreciate the fact that I am actually using my camera now (and venturing past the “auto” mode….)
Try it for 50% off….
Interested? As readers to the blog, you have a chance to try it out for 50% off…. It’s a great deal for a course this in-depth. Just click through the following link to get the deal (nope, I am not getting any of the proceeds =)): ShotRockers Beginning Photography at 50% off
A chance to win:
Tony has offered one of you the chance to take this course too, free of charge. As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widgets below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help! Sorry, this giveaway is open to the U.S. only.
ShotRockers generously provided us access to this course free of charge (per our request) in order to facilitate this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
Ladies – get ready. While the options out there for outdoorsy styles this spring are seemingly endless, I have put together a (rather lengthy) list of my very favorites with a brief review on my own thoughts. All of these pieces perform well, was well, look good and are made for being active in the [...]
Today we welcome back Dawn of Grass Haven with a little humor and a sweet giveaway. Where do YOU fit in?!?! You can learn more about Grass Haven from our previous interview with them! The smell of fresh air and the warmth of campfire, sounds inviting right? Many moms relish the camping experience to some [...]
Today I asked Jennifer (pictured on left) of Rocky Mountain Rags to join us as a guest blogger as we celebrate the joys that biking can bring to moms, kids and families. She is an avid biker, a mom, and a co-inventor (along with Connie) of the coolest kid biking jerseys I have ever seen. [...]
Today starts our week-long celebration of moms. Outdoorsy moms (or those thinking they may want to try that route), Biking Moms, Camping (or Glamping or My-Kids-Need-Me-To-Camp-Even-Though-I-Hate-It) Moms, Memory-Keeping Moms, Stylish Moms…and everything in between. Let’s face it, if mom isn’t on board with this whole “outdoorsy thing”, it throws a big wrench in the hopes [...]
As we mentioned previously on the blog, we are proud to be a part of the SwimWays Swim Team as an ambassador. While we are still getting snow here, we will be slowly working into getting our kids in the water more and testing out our new SwimWays products as the weather warms up. This [...]
Today we welcome Shari of the new site, Camping Kiddos, to share with us some of their family’s favorite sweets for camping. Be sure to read all the way to the end for a chance to win a GREAT mess kit for kids! However, just a bit about Camping Kiddos first: Dedicated to helping families [...]
Confession: Before this past week, we had never camped for more than one consecutive night with our boys (aged 2 and 4). Usually one night was plenty and we were ready to head home and get some real sleep the next morning. It was, quite honestly, more of a lets-see-if-we-can-survive-this more than anything else. Shocking, [...]
Get ready for summer (or spring, fall or winter…) with this fabulous new book by Ken Keffer and Stacy Tornio just hitting shelves. A quick and easy read, The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow Up is chock-full of great ideas in a check-list-like form (which totally suckers me [...]
While we are still feeling a bit like we are in the middle of winter here, spring as sprung over at Stonewear Designs! I asked my fellow Ambassadors to chime in and share their favorites from the new line this season. As I have mentioned many times before, my personal opinion is that Stonewear has [...]
Sometimes we forget that these beautiful trails we take for granted (especially at National Parks) are the result of blood, sweat and tears from trail crews doing their job (and doing it well!) I love this new book by Christine Byl all about her experiences on the crew and literally getting her hands dirty. As [...]
Just a quick post to direct you to our newest review of the Joovy Cocoon X2. A fabulous convertible stroller for the family that wants one stroller to do it all…. We also did a review this week for Rainy Pass Repair (keep that gear up and running smoothly so you can get out more!) [...]
More than anything else, people find this blog when they are searching for ways to carry their kids and get outside. It’s the biggest dilemma parents face, especially when children are young. The only way you can really continue getting outside and moving after kids is with the right gear. Note: I didn’t say it [...]
Just a cool “secret” I learned about DucKsday Suits (if you don’t know what I am talking about, check them out in our previous review here – they are our top gear pick for kids.) Don’t worry – this video is super short. I cut out the middle boring part with the kids yelling in [...]
One of the parts of encouraging kids to get outside as much as possible that I love the most is that it really opens up a door of exploration for them that no other activity can. Yes, you can do indoor scavenger hunts or relay races in a gym, but it just isn’t the same [...]
We’re diggin’ the Cool Cat Pro for a little warmth, sun protection and keeping the sweat and hair out of your eyes. See our full review of it here (and make sure you enter to win one of your own by using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post!) Buy one! Cool Cat Pro [...]