Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Full Night's Sleep

Oh what my husband and I wouldn’t give for a full, uninterrupted night of sleep. I look at this predicament through two lenses, knowing that in a very short amount of time I will be writing a blog complaining about the fact that my kids don’t want to snuggle anymore and don’t need me as much.  But right now, mommy and daddy have not had a full night sleeps more than 20 times in the last six years. Even typing this makes me yawn.

There is simply nothing to prepare you for new mom tiredness.  If you have gone through it, then I don’t need to explain it to you. So I'll tell you this story.  My biggest fear as a new mom was that I would be so out of it tired that I would leave my baby somewhere…I had nightmares about this.  It never happened, but I did mistake the gas for the break once.  Thank goodness I was still in park.  I  had just gotten into my car and was sitting in the parking spot.  I kept hearing this super loud engine revving sound.  I looked around the parking lot and thought, “What loser is trying to be cool by revving their engine?”  And then I glanced down at my feet.  That loser was me.  Needless to say, tired was an understatement. 

Fast forward six years later. I beg my daughter every night to try and stay in her bed.  I explain to her  that mommy and daddy are much happier and more fun when they get a solid night's sleep, just like she is. She understands completely, and bless her little heart, always says to me with such concern, “I will try my hardest mommy.  I just get so scared.”  And for that I really can’t blame her because I WAS that kid, the one who would sneak into my parents bed every night as well.  I would always start out by going to my mom’s side only to be told to “go back to bed”, and then would proceed to “the sucker’s” side, my dad, who would help me in without really waking up.  My mom would find out I had made my way into their King when she would roll over onto me.

We have tried several things to inspire and motivate my imaginative 6-year-old to stay in her bed, but nothing has worked.  Incentives have included everything from a star chart and special treats to even pierced ears.  I once, out of pure desperation, told her I would give her $20 if she would stay in her bed….but she couldn’t.

And the problem really isn't her crawling into our bed, it's her incredible, tornado like force throughout
her stay.  She is stuck to us like Velcro yet she never stays still. She kicks us like a world cup soccer player, pokes us like a spear fisher, and pulls our hair like a back-alley fighter.  The strength and stamina of a 6-year-old from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. while completely unconscious is truly phenomenal.

But then, there are those moments...those precious moments when I feel her roll over and cuddle, or she calls out to me scared and I am there to comfort her. Or when I wake just before her to catch the adorably peaceful look on her face just like when she was a baby.  Those are the moments that I know make this Lack of sleep so VERY worth it.  So my husband and I carry on, weary eyed, knowingly lucky, and hopeful for day number 21 of a FULL night's sleep.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back in the swim of things

Before this swim season, the last time I did any play-by-play commentary of a swimming event was the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.  Yes, I was the one screaming into the headset with every close race!  I must have missed the memo that read, “The audience is as close to you as the microphone is to your mouth, they CAN hear you, you don’t need to yell.” 

Yes, I've covered swimming, recapping events and doing interviews, but  Jan 25, 2013 was the first time I was back calling a meet! Let me tell you, there's nothing like hopping right back into it after a good 17 year break. I guess it’s good for me that it is just like riding a bike. I put that head set on, and for the first time in a long time, I got to chat about a sport I love so much. After 10 years with the NBA, calling athletes players and the playing venue a court, I was finally back to referring to the atheltes as MY PEOPLE -- swimmers -- and their chlorinated field, the swim pool.  Just saying those words put a huge smile on my face.

Although I haven’t been around a pool a ton over the past 2 decades, I have never stopped loving and appreciating my sport.  Whenever I was covering the Olympic Games, I would always push to get a fellow swimmer on the show for an interview or a feature.  I would always try to celebrate everything these young athletes were doing and help the world understand the sport that is so much more than staring at a black line at the bottom of the pool. I wanted people to have the opportunity to meet the personality behind the face that is covered by a swim cap and goggles. 

And let me tell you, it is never more clear how amazing swimming is than when you are a spectator at a collegiate meet.  It may seem like an individual sport, but when you wear your school’s colors and step foot on the blocks, you have a few dozen equally charged men and women cheering their heads off to let you know “they have your back”.  Trust me, you don’t mess with 30 women on a mission! I was a better swimmer because of my Stanford teammates, and I am a better person because of my experience as a collegiate athlete.  It's as simple as that.

My second meet for the Pac-12 Network was at CAL, and it just happened to be parents weekend.  The stands were packed with proud parents wearing their blue and yellow. There I saw the girl that I think will feel exactly the same way I felt about collegiate sports, Missy Franklin.  She signed her intent to go to CAL next fall, and was there with her parents to soak it all up.  She was beaming with excitement.  I asked her if she could hardly wait to be a part of the team, and with her megawatt smiled she replied, “I CAN NOT WAIT!” You can’t put a price tag on that feeling and all of the amazing experiences she will have as a Golden Bear. I truly believe that.

Missy’s smile made my day and made me think.  As much as my commentary is imperfect (I obviously still need to brush up on the changes in the sport), the swim pool is my home.  So as I called the Pac 12 Championships, I just enjoyed being back where I belong. I can smell chlorine a mile away. And, it is good to be back!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Brrr, It’s Cold Outside!

Are you thinking, “it’s too cold, it's March, where's spring?" Because I am right there with you. However, I am in Utah so we're a little more used to it, But still. When it is cold outside, all I really want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a warm blank, someone to snuggle, a good movie and some popcorn. However, thinking like can make winter really long and make for very bored children. Besides, it's quite rare that it’s too cold to get outside and get moving.  There will always time to come back in and enjoy that warm toasty moment after a little physical exertion.

We, as parents, have to lead the charge on this one.  If we don’t urge our kids to get outside on cold days, they won’t know what they are missing.  Honestly every time we bring it up, at least one of our two children will whine for a bit about how cold it will be. But we keep pushing forward and working to get the family suited up for the elements.  Being prepared really helps you achieve that victory. Here’s my preparedness list for heading outside when it’s cold.
  1. Accessories.  Make sure you have all the necessary accessories to keep everyone warm: hats, gloves, snow pants, goggles, hand warmers…layers.
  2.  Just plan to get outside. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do, just get out there even before making a concrete plan, unless of course you’re going skiing or snowshoeing. Often you’ll find more to do without a set schedule and have more fun.
  3. Use the facilities. Always go to the bathroom before stepping outside and have the kiddos do the same.  If you don’t, the kids will come back in and never return because frankly it’s just too hard to get those layers on and off easily…don’t give them a chance to escape.
  4.  Remember anything is possible.  There are very few “no’s” when embarking on a wintery cold outside adventure.  Take off your mommy hat and just let the kids have fun.  Safe but fun! 
Now, we move onto the plethora of possible activities, which as I stated should be discussed once outside.  When kids are in the element, they can simply see the fun. Standing in the warm house, it's tough for them to cast an educated vote.
  • Sledding.  This is such a fun and easy activity that quickly turns into exercise. And the best part, you don’t need a formal sled.  We have used a laundry basket many times.  If you don’t have a big hill, create one by piling the snow up.  You will be surprised how much the kids like to mold the snow.  Snowy sandcastle anyone?! Don't have snow, slide, swing or race.
  • Shoveling.  They don’t have to know it is a chore.  Some of my best workouts have involved shoveling the walk. In fact, I almost went into labor with Skye because of it.  You can make it fun by creating a contest out of it: who can collect the “Biggest Pile” of snow. Don't have snow, try racking or bagging leaves. Picking up sticks. Same concepts apply. Everything becomes more fun when it’s a contest! 
  • Tag or hide and seek.  These games can last quite a while and have room for strategy and fun.
  • In colder climates:
    • Make a snowman or snow angels, or both. Just moving around in snow is harder on the body and therefore burns off energy. So if the snow is falling or just fell, making a snowman can be a great family activity.  And I just learned the proper way this year.  You have to start with a small snowball and roll it around in the snow, packing down the new particles of snow so that the snowball picks up as you go.  It creates the perfect ball!!! So fun! 
    • Skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing are all amazing cold weather activities but require some equipment, skill and/or extra cash.  If you have the means and the access, these are super fun family adventures that I highly recommend. 
  • *Notes to remember: Always pack snacks when heading away from home for any of these activities.  The cold weather makes little kids and big kids SUPER hungry, really fast. And they tend to not feel thirsty as quickly, so be sure to take water breaks as well.

Now get out there and Have Fun…and Don’t be afraid of the cold!!!