Swimming with Bear Paddle

For the last couple of years I have wanted to enroll the kids in swimming lessons, so when the opportunity arose with Bear Paddle, I was SO excited! Our kids have been 'swimming' in water practically since they were born. Pierson's first swim was just a couple weeks after his birth, Fourth of July weekend in 2012. And Reese's was in my parent's pool, when she too was teeny tiny! Neither have had a fear of water, ever, and we've always called them Little Fishes. I had swimming lessons as a young child, and they taught me so much, as well as instilled a passion for the sport. I wanted the same for our Pierson and Reese, so I'm super pumped to tell y'all about the new facility that has opened in Louisville.

You can read more on their website, but Bear Paddle has a 90-degree saltwater pool and it is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! They also have a pool sanitation system, so kids experience clean AND warm water at all times! Our kids were mesmerized as soon as we walked in. The bright colors, friendly staff, and the very large POOL, obviously! 


Pierson from the get-go, was 100% on board. He is eager to learn and is in a sweet spot currently of trying his best at pretty much everything. He turned five in June, and in the last year, he decided he didn't need a swim vest anymore to swim. Needless to say, he hasn't looked back since; give him a pair of goggles, put him in some water, and this boy is ready to GO. His little sister Reese on the other hand, well, there were some ups and downs we had to work through, but the swim lessons were such a great learning experience. She was a little nervous at the size pool (her grandparents in Michigan have a round lap pool, so, quite the difference in that regard!) She wasn't 100% sure what to think of it all the first lesson, but this is a great time to rant and rave about the quality of instructors Bear Paddle has. All of them were SO patient with Reese. They didn't force her in the pool, they not once showed an ounce of frustration with her hesitation, and they were so calm and confident. 

While Pierson was clearly all smiles, Reese requested that I sit RIGHT next to her on the side of the pool. She even went as far to ask the teacher if I could put my feet in. As I said, the instructors were always so kind and incredibly understanding of Reese's apparent anxiety. She began to warm up, and slowly but surely, she dove in with no fear at all, just as she's done at her grandparents within the last several months. She too, learned that she didn't really need a life vest anymore, and the instructors were very proud of her when she decided to show them that she COULD do this! 


The first three or four lessons it typically took Reese five minutes of warming up to the idea of swimming without me being IN the water, but by golly, she always did it. There was a couple of lessons that I doubted wholeheartedly whether or not she would get IN and complete the lesson, but she never ceased to amaze me. For me personally, it showed me how quick I am TO doubt, and it taught me to have more patience and trust in the professionals who are there to help children succeed! 

Pierson just loved every single moment, the second that he arrived, at each and every lesson. It didn't matter who the instructor was, how many kids were in the group, where I was sitting or standing; he just SWAM. 


I am so glad my husband recorded some videos of them swimming here. I feel like I'll blink and they'll be teenagers, the days of swim lessons far behind them--but seriously, I have held tight to the last month, and watching them be kids in the water. Before Bear Paddle, Pierson was hesitant to learn how to float on his back, and by the end of it, he had zero hesitations. 

We were going to do two full months with the facility and bring our kids weekly for lessons, however, if you've followed along with us this summer, you know how insanely busy our life has been. Pierson began kindergarten, Reese preschool, we moved to a brand new house, and we have found ourselves doing SO much driving to and from places that we knew we just needed to wait. They were able to do five weeks of lessons though, and honestly, they learned so much in that amount of time. I'm 99% sure we'll be going back next summer, when life can slow down again and the kids don't have as many obligations in their daily routines. 


I can't say enough about the facility, the cleanliness, the support of the staff, and how happy my kids were after swim lessons at Bear Paddle. Once Reese got in, she always had a difficult time getting OUT--she could have swam for hours! We were blessed by this opportunity and I hope you'll check it out too. They offer SO many lessons, even in the evenings and weekends. And if you aren't local to Louisville, you'll be happy to know that this isn't their only location! Check out their many branches by clicking here

Thank you, Bear Paddle, for letting us swim with you! It was an honor to meet your staff and to watch our kids branch out and learn so much about themselves. 


Hello, Michigan!

I thought I may be crazy when I decided to pack the kids and I up for a week in Michigan, but it turns out I'm only crazy for thinking that I may not be capable. Suitcases, winter gear, swim vests, a hundred snacks, DVD's, cameras and sound machines--and finally we were ready for the normally six hour drive North.

We left Kentucky at 10 a.m. on the dot and drove for two hours. The kids could have gone longer but I thought it was a good stopping point for lunch and to fill up the gas tank. I popped in a second movie and continued driving. They were so good to not ask me to turn around or get anything for them, and they even slept for a little over an hour. Around 3:45pm we could see my parents house from the road and I shook my head in disbelief. I had driven for the first time EVER with both kids for almost six hours!

Not to toot my own horn, (but definitely patting myself on the back), the trip once there continued to go smoothly. My parents helped read to Pierson while I put Reese down for naps and bedtime, and while I did do TWELVE consecutive tuck-ins, I'm amazed at what good kids I have. Yes, Pierson woke once or twice in the middle of the night to come find me, but Reese did amazing in her cozy closet/bedroom and slept the entire night each night. In the mornings, they were happy and playful, and I was always a little grumpy until I finished the first cup of coffee. But y'all...it was SO good to just be HOME. They had to go swimming twice a day, thank God for that pool! And got to the point where they allowed me to sit in a chair in the pool room to do work on my laptop while they played and swam--when did I get such BIG kids?!

My mom, their Mimi, had fun activities, baked cupcakes with them, and helped me with their lunches every day. They loved when my dad, Pa Pa, got home from work, and talked his ear off a mile a minute. During our Christmas visit the kids bickered, a LOT, and Reese was super challenging mood and attitude wise. But for whatever reason, and maybe they just matured a lot in the last couple of months? They got along SO much better and both were VERY sweet. [Thank the LORD!]

I think I could have stayed longer, but Pierson started to get SUPER homesick for his Daddy. There were lots of tears the second to last night we were there, begging to call and see him, and Asa told me that I needed to pick a day and come HOME. I had just been playing each day completely by ear, because honestly, I didn't really expect that I could do this EVERY day for six days! We decided on Tuesday, which gave Asa six nice long nights to NOT be woken up by kids, to only have to worry about ONE dish to clean, and to not worry about clutter or toys strewn everywhere. He has always been super supportive when I have made my weekend Tennessee trips, and I'm very thankful I was ABLE to give him this break. [Not going to lie, babe, I may need to take another soon, ha ha!] ;)

I've joked [okay, not totally joking] that we need to move either to Nashville to be near my brother OR Michigan to be near my parents because I've been in Kentucky for TEN YEARS and I just really miss my fam. I don't that will be happening... so I really can't be more grateful for this trip I was able to take and ENJOY. Any other ladies out there just feel like you need to be with your mama?! I miss mine ALL the time!

Thank you, Mom, Dad and Nathan for having us this whole week. I can't wait to be able to come back and do it again, maybe this spring! Enjoy the pictures, friends. I wish I had been better about snapping photos of the kids with my parents and brother but clearly I didn't this time. Cheers, and happy WEEKEND!