Monday, June 23, 2008

I am now certifiable!

SCUBA certifiable, that is! This weekend was my open water certification dive and it was quite eventful. Apparently, I experienced something that most divers never experience (thank God!) Let me explain.....

We started out from Bradenton, Florida and headed into the Gulf. It was a beautiful day, very warm with scattered clouds overhead. The boat was full, mostly of new divers. My friends Tom and Veronica were there to share in my first open water dive and it just happened to be Veronica's 100th dive! What an accomplishment! Our 45 minute ride out to the first dive location was smooth. We geared up, they dropped the anchor, we got a site survey and down we went. Visibility was about 35 feet and we were on top of a reef. My dive buddy was having a hard time clearing her ears, so it took her several minutes to descend on the anchor line. The instructor (Allison) came back to get me and I followed her down to the reef. At about 48 feet below the surface, I ran into my good friend Veronica and gave her an underwater hug (since she is partly responsible for me getting into scuba diving!) It was so cool! I loved being in "another world" and seeing the sights of the sea. No, I didn't see any big fish or anything really cool, but just being under there and getting used to breathing scuba was enough for me!
Here are Veronica and I as we were heading out to the 2nd dive sight.
Here is my fearless instructor, Alison. She has tons of experience diving (and sailing) and she is an excellent instructor. After sunday's dive, I can attest to the quality of her instruction!

Let me fill you in on dive #2. As you can see from the pictures, the sun was out and shining. When we got to the 2nd dive stop, we could see some thunder clouds rolling in, but they weren't on top of us, so we all proceeded to gear up and go down. We were instructed by the boat captain to listen for the sound of the motor, in case the storm came over and we had to move on. My buddy and I were the last ones in the water and I could tell that she was still feeling very queasy, so we took our time. Again, as instructed, we started our descent down the anchor line. We were about 20 feet below when we felt the anchor line tugging violently. We looked at each like, "Did you do that?" Then, I felt it start to pull more and more, so I back away from it and signaled for my buddy to do the same. Once we let go, it went soaring past us and we heard teh sound of the boat motor! Not a good sign! We had only been underwater for about 5-7 minutes. The underwater surge was also rocking us about. We got together, made eye contact asking, " What just happened? That can't be good!" We gave each other the "up" signal and slowly started to ascend.

Well, we surfaced to 6 foot seas and 50 mph winds (that's what the boat captain registered). And, the boat was FAR away. We (my buddy) immediately gave the diver-in-distress signal and the captain spotted us fairly quickly. However, getting us on the boat took some time. My buddy and I never let go of each other and we grouped up with another dive couple (a man and his young son). He brought the boat over to us, but the winds were knocking the boat around like a freakin' cork, so it took 3 tries before we were dragged up onto the boat. No time to remove fins or anything. I now know that I can hyperventilate into my regulator and still be okay. As soon as I belly-crawled into the boat, the BC came off and a life vest was put on. The situation was that rocky. I don't know how our boat captain held on up there, because it looked like he was riding a bucking bronco due to the 50 mph winds and 6 foot seas. He did sustain an injury to his head though. He was holding down the life raft and a strobe popped up and hit him in the back of his head, left a bump the size of a goose egg. I'm just thankful it didn't knock him out or we never would have made it back on the boat.

Once he finally got us on the boat, we searched for the other divers, who were scattered everywhere. My friends (Tom, Veronica and Tonya) were the last ones to be seen/rescued. Let's just say that my nerves were not good and there was some praying going on until they were safely pulled onto the boat. Luckily, everyone was fairly quickly rescued and pulled into the boat with no injuries or harm. It gave us newly certified divers some great emergency procedure training and made us realize how well we were trained. But, yes, it scared the bejeezus out of us! Amazingly, as soon as we picked up the last divers, the rain stopped, the seas calmed down and the storm passed. Mother Nature sure is a fickle one!

Here we are safe and sound (and on LAND!). We were starving afterwards and exhausted from the day's events. But, overall, it was good dive day ( I guess because we all made it back onto the boat?) And, I'm ready to plan my next dive trip. Although, if it even looks cloudy or windy, I will be staying on dry land. Oh, and my next dive purchase is going to be a "Safety Sausage". Yes, the name brings on all kinds of sick jokes, but we would not have seen several of the divers (including my good friends) without it.

Needless to say, I was SO thankful to get home to Will and James. No, I didn't see my life flash before my eyes or anything, but I'm holding onto James extra tight today and giving him more kisses and hugs than usual. Will still gets the same treatment, poor guy! After hearing about my diving adventure, he's ready to accompany me on all future dives. I'm fine with that, since he is already Rescue certified and a very experienced diver.
For all you scuba divers out there, feel free to share your emergency/scary stories with the rest of us!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!!

I finally made good on a promise I made to Will over six years ago. You see, when we first met, he offered me two choices, sky dive or scuba dive. I've NEVER had the desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane (and still don't!) so I chose SCUBA. It has taken me this long, but I finally signed up for a course and it started this weekend. So, I've been either in class or in the water ALL weekend long. My dear, devoted and supportive hubby got to stay home with James and spend his first Father's Day at home with James, aka the Octopus.

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I'd do something new and different, give Will the power over the keyboard. So, here is his Father's Day weekend from his perspective:
On Saturday, I thought I'd loose my mind. Then, I remembered our "baby crack" backup and put on a Baby Einstein DVD. After I had time to breathe and starting playing with James constructively (instead of letting him run me into the ground) things went muuuuccchhhhh better. Saturday seemed to be a practice day for walking/chasing the dogs around the house.
By Sunday, he was walking all over and across the house on TWO feet. No Baby Einstein DVD was needed, so I saw that as a HUGE improvement! I could barely keep up with one kid, much less if we had two. (Jenn and Eric, god bless you!) I spent more time in his play area than James did (trying to coax him into it.) We spent the day playing ball, riding on his Thomas train and chasing the dogs. My back is pretty much killing me from all the bending over and pushing him on his riding toys. But, he survived all the little bumps and falls from learning to walk. So, I'm safe (from the wrath of the wife!)
So, I returned home Sunday evening to find a tired hubby, a clean (kind of) house and a baby who is already walking! I couldn't believe it when he started walking all the way across the room towards me! What's next?!? College?
Anyway, it was an exhausting, underwater-breathing weekend for me and a valuable learning/bonding experience for the boys. I have one more weekend of diving and training coming up, I'm wondering if Will is "up for the job" once again! I've heard mumbles about a last minute work trip!
Either way, as hard as it was for me to leave each day, I knew that James was in good hands and that he loves spending time with his daddy! Will is just thankful that once I'm certified, he can go diving again! It's been over SIX years people! (as he keeps reminding me)
Happy Father's Day!!! (and to you, too, Dad! We love you!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happiness is a Water Bottle!

After our trip to the mall this afternoon, James got into his diaper bag and found my bottle of water. As I've mentioned before, I am addicted to Dasani water and have become quite the "water snob." I will drink other types of water if needed, but I really prefer the taste of Dasani.

Anyway, I looked over to see and hear James playing with this bottle of water. He was deliriously happy at rolling the bottle, throwing the bottle and watching it magically "move by itself" as the water sloshed around inside. My video camera was out of battery, so I used my digital camera. It's a little grainy, but the sound works (that's the best part!)

There were so many giggles and loud belly laughs that I couldn't help but watch him in amazment. I love seeing him explore his world and find so much delight in it. Hearing his giggles and glees only made the moment that much more adorable. After at least 5 minutes of playing, I decided to grab the camera and capture his gleeful moments on film. I'm sorry about this being so long, I'm not too savy with the video-editing portion of our computer. I'm sure you won't want to watch all TEN minutes of water-bottle-playfulness, but it sure did keep me entertained! Funny how my sense of entertainment and enjoyment sure has changed over the past year!

So, I guess for his upcoming birthday I should ask for more bottles of water????

Click on this link
to see the video of Happiness is a Water Bottle!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Eleven Months Old!!!

Our little Sunshine is ELEVEN months old today! What a ball of energy and smiles he is! He is constantly "on the go" and I think that he woke up today and said, "Today, I will start walking." So, all day long he's been taking steps (small, baby steps) and all evening, he would start to crawl, then stop and stand up and try to take a few steps on his own. He was wearing himself out!
Of course, when it came to picture with the sign time, he was Mr. Speedy! Let's see, life at eleven months for James....
He is an excellent eater. The bigger the bites, the better!
He can eat chunks of banana faster than I ever thought possible!
He loves going to playgroups and playing with other kids' toys.
He loves to get "slam-dunked" on the bed and rough-house with us.
Swimming in the pool is always a big hit, even when I throw him up in the air and let him go under a little on the way down.
He still prefers to listen to classical music in the car, Beethoven and Bach preferably. It's the only music he will sit quietly and listen to during the drive.
He has now started to crawl/cruise over to one of us and lay his down on your lap/shoulder when he wants some luvin'. It melts our hearts and we have agreed that he deserves that pony on his eighth birthday and the new car at sixteen.
Yes, we are quite smitten with our little sunshine.
I look forward to his smiling face every morning and
yet I look forward to 7:00 every night (bedtime!)
Happy Eleven Months James!!!

The other outtakes are literally of empty bed space, where he was sitting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Buyer Beware!!!

Warning: If you feed your baby Gerber's Lil Graduates Biter Biscuits "unsupervised", then THIS may happen to your child!
See photo below.

On Thursday, James and I packed up our things and headed over to Hyde Park for a children's music sing-along with Mr. Richard. James and I enjoyed a picnic lunch with some playdate buddies as we melted in the hot June weather and listened to this old man sing songs about puppy dog kisses and fun in the sun, etc.
Then, we had to go pick up our basket of fresh, local, organic produce from the Purple Carrot Co-op, which I've just recently joined. We got some yummy fruits and veggies for a great price!
So, by that time, it was quickly approaching James' afternoon nap time and he was OVER being strapped into his carseat. Boy, did I hear about it! After passing back everything in his diaper bag that I thought would make him happy, I reached for the "last resort"...... his teething biscuits. It's like a cookie and he does very well with it in his high chair. But, in his carseat, it's a different story!
It did keep him quiet the entire rest of the way home, but this is the face I found when I went to get him out of his carseat! Ahhhh! The cookie was actually crusted onto his face. Of course, he didn't mind, but he did when I attempted to scrape it off of him. So, mommies, think twice before you pass that cookie back to your screaming baby while in the carseat. I know I will (until the next screaming episode!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Day of Firsts

This morning, James decided to impress me by clapping his hands together. While this may not seem like a major milestone to some, I have been waiting for him to clap for a couple of months now. And, all of a sudden, he started clapping (for no apparent reason, other than the dogs wanted to go outside) this morning and he's been clapping his hands all day!
to top it all off, He took his FIRST STEPS today at the Aquarium! Of all places! We joined some friends there for our usual playgroup this afternoon. We let the babies crawl around and play near the large tank as usual. I look over to see James standing all on his own (been doing that for quite some time now), he started clapping (maybe to get our attention) and then he just took a couple of steps forward. No major distance was covered, but it was the first time he's even tried moving his feet without holding onto something.
Here's a picture of the proud mom after his accomplishment!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Benjamin's Birthday!!!

On Saturday, James helped his good friend and playdate buddy (Benjamin) celebrate the ripe ole' age of One Year(s) Old! Ever since James was three months old, these boys have attended weekly (sometimes more!) playdates together, so they go waaayyyyyy back! Yep, you could say that they have known each other for most of their lives!
At previous birthday parties, James has NOT been a fan of the ball pit. But, with a little coaxing from his good friend Benjamin, he wasn't afraid at all.
James: Dude, this is the worst teething toy I've ever had!
Benjamin: No man! You have to throw the balls out, so our mommies can go scrambling for them! It's the best game ever!
James: Oh, I get it now! She can't snap pictures and chase balls at the same time!
James: Let me show you how to make them squeak.
Benjamin: Hey, it's my toy. I think I know how to work it. Watch and learn, kid. Watch and learn.

Yes, it seemed that all of the kids there had a great time playing and getting to try out Benjamin's new birthday gifts. Benjamin was a great host and birthday boy! The moms were trying to figure out just when and how our little babies got so big and "grown up." It's very hard not to get caught up in the sentimentality of it all. Well, for some it is. When I asked Will about it and tried explaining it to him, he looked at me like I was crazy! I guess that's the difference between mommies and daddies.