Monday, September 26, 2011

Believe you can ride a bike

Riding a bike was an integral part of my life: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. My father was instrumental in teaching me to ride my bike and provided me with a variety of fun bicycles throughout my childhood. When my twin sisters came along 8 years later, I was eager to teach them to ride a bike. I remember Judy's eagerness to learn how to ride when she was only 3 years old. She practiced daily on her little bike with blocks on the pedals so she could reach them. One afternoon she hollered across the street for me while I was swimming with my neighbor. I looked out from over the pool side as she told me to watch her. Next thing I know she was peddling away without any help! I truly think that was the moment that I knew I wanted to be a teacher! Seeing her believe in herself and push herself to reach her goal at such a young age was so rewarding!

I am relieved to see my little sisters instilling bike riding in their children. At first my sisters rode their adult bikes with the children behind in the kid carriers. Role modeling biking is so important! Once the kids were old enough they moved on to 2-wheeled bikes with training wheels which seemed temporary as they were eager to ride the big bike without the extra helpful wheels! About a month ago, my 4 year old nephew graduated to the two-wheeler without training wheels! That was pretty much the average age for any of my family to learn to ride a bike.

My sister, Anne lives  3.14 miles from my house...roughly:) Over the past few summers, I would ride my bike to her house, get her two oldest kids and the three of us would ride back to my house to swim. Later, I would ride with them back home. They were 6-9 years old and riding over 6 miles. Pretty impressive! This summer my 5 year old niece rode to and from my home on her little bike. She had no clue how much peddling was entailed given the size of her tires and the distance. She was a trooper!!

I hope parents are still encouraging their children to not only learn to ride a bike, but actively use a bike daily. Not only is biking a great social tool connecting kids from areas they may not otherwise walk, but also it is a great source of exercise.  Bike riding also connects family members as it is a great activity that all members can enjoy! Let your children ride their bikes in parades, play follow-the-leader or race! These activities will be fond memories for them for life!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dream Sweet Dreams

My older sister and I shared a large bedroom when we were young. To say she tormented me every opportunity she could find would probably be an understatement! Before going to sleep each night we would always say to each other, “Have sweet dreams, I love you!” which inevitably would be followed with giggly sayings like, “nighty night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” This of course, would only be culminated with her sneaking out of  her bed, crawling over to my bed and scaring the daylights out of me! Somehow through the silliness, I still managed to have sweet dreams!

Though I don’t remember specific childhood dreams, I do remember sleeping soundly and being refreshed each morning.  My mother taught me early on that I should watch something pleasant, humorous, inspiring and/or powerful before I went to sleep. This should aid in having sweet dreams as the last thought or sight before falling asleep can have some bearing on your dreams. As a practice I opt for Comedy Central before I go to sleep. I laugh at the obnoxious shows like TOSH.O and drift into a sound sleep filled with sweet, fun dreams.

You can help your children have sweet dreams, too. By having them read fun stories before bed, they relax and can forget their hectic day. If your children share a bedroom and tend to  play around before they fall asleep, that’s ok! The fun liveliness of their play may aid in them having sweet dreams!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love the Beach

I had the wonderful experience of vacationing in South Carolina last month. We visited Folly Beach for a few days and then Hilton Head Island. Both hotels were located on the beach with beach views from our hotel balconies. The weather was hot and sunny, the sand was as white as cotton and the ocean water was at a  perfect temperature!

Over the years, due to greater knowledge (JAWS, the news, JAWS, media, JAWS), I have become rather  apprehensive about swimming in the ocean. I walked it many times and viewed it from the hotel pools on most vacations. On occasion, I even dipped my feet in the water to get a feel. But, I have not boogie boarded or rode the waves in a long time. Of course, the new movie, “Sole Surfer” isn’t helping my case any!

Oddly, this past vacation I put aside all fears and doubts about the great ocean and hit it head on! My husband and I rode the waves and played like kids in the ocean at Folly Beach. We laughed and splashed and let the waves tackle us to the ground. I had forgotten just how much fun the ocean could be!!

With great enthusiasm and no trepidation, we hit the ocean almost immediately once we arrived at our hotel on Hilton Island. Once again, we were laughing, splashing and playing like little kids in the ocean. That came to a quick end, however, when the couple next to us yelled, “Hey we just got stung by jelly fish!!!!” My husband and I parted the ocean like Moses! We spent the rest of the day at the pool. Later that day I walked the beach only to find 4 jelly fish washed up ashore and hear the cries of 4 different people getting stung by jelly fish. The next day I decided the pool was for me, though I again walked the beach. This time I heard the shrilling cries from NINE different people getting stung by jelly fish. A few were kind enough to show me their sting marks and describe the intense pain they experienced from the sting. I was glad to have the refreshing and relaxing pool to enjoy that day.

I was amazed at how many people remained in the ocean despite seeing their neighbors getting stung.  That evening I even posted something about it on facebook. My friend, who was about 60 miles north of us at Isle of Palms beach commented that she, too, was stung. She  then stated that the sting only lasted 5 minutes and she was right back in the ocean! WOW! These people seriously love the ocean! I love the beach.  I love the ocean, too. But I'm good with loving the water from afar, pain-free, sting-free and with all body parts in tack.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Believe in yourself!

My little sister, Judy, is my inspiration when it comes to believing in herself! She has set  a number of challenging goals throughout her life and continues to meet them. She jumped out of a plane, ran several half marathons, ran a full marathon and just recently completed her first triathlon. Running and biking have always been a strength of Judy's, but swimming was not.

For a month prior to the triathlon, Judy trained religiously. She lacked form and knowledge about swimming competitively, but was determined to learn. She took advice from my step daughter, Jessica, my friend, Dave, and her friend Jenny all of whom were on the swim team in high school. She came to my house and swam daily and even practiced in the area lake where the competition would take place. She believed in herself and her ability and was determined to succeed.

On the day of the triathlon, Judy was prepared and confident. She swam first and had perfect form and  looked very strong! During the bike race she was soaring and looked like she was just taking a leisure a VERY rapid pace! The run was the last part of the competition. She was amazing!  She looked so strong and relaxed like she hadn't even competed in the other events prior.

Judy not only completed her first ever triathlon, but she did it at a competitive pace, time and place (1st in her age division-20th overall).   Our father, all of her sisters, her entire family and  friends were there to witness this incredible feat! We are so proud of her! She accomplished her goal because she believed in herself! She is a true icon of Believing!!!

Have you accomplished everything you wanted to accomplish to this point in your life? What do you believe  is holding your back and how can you overcome those obstacles to achieve your goal? What do you need from yourself to get there and what do  you need from others (spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers) to reach your goal? Set out with a strong belief in yourself and you will accomplish anything on your list!

What about your children? Have they been raised to believe in their abilities and strengths despite any possible obstacles (disability, stature, level of intelligence, socioeconomic level..)? Have they been taught to go after their goals and push themselves to their potential? What can you do to help them to believe in their selves?