Archive for the 'play' Category

Scuba Diving Class 2 – Two Open Water Dives

This is Part 2 in a Series. Read Part 1 HERE.

Did I mention how terrified I am to scuba dive? No? Well, rest assured that I told my instructor. And Zach. And Kate, the other student diving with us. Here I am, yesterday morning, having problem after problem with pool gear. Mask too tight, respirator too difficult to breathe through, can’t get properly weighted. Bleh. Still. Not giving up yet.

IMG_3698

Then we spent time calculating nitrogen concentration in one’s body, safe dive times, etc. I liked this because it was math-y, and also showed that dive sickness is avoidable, and not just a matter of chance circumstance. We got onto the boat for a 40 minute ride out to Sand Key, part of the coral barrier reef 7 miles from Key West. I cannot imagine a prettier day on the water. Calm and glassy and teal.

The crew had the tanks all lined up.

1-tanks

We squeezed into wetsuits and hoods. This is Zach making his “THIS IS AWESOME” face.

1-pre dive zach wetsuit

This was the view off the side of the boat. Those greeny patches? They’re corals 20 feet below.

1-pre dive water view

My nerves kicked in while strapping up. I actually had to put on a ton of gear and then just JUMP off the side of the boat. It took a full 2 minutes of hyperventilation on the “gangplank”, and ultimately I asked Rick, the first mate, to push me off. Once in, I had a bit of a panic, until Zach saw a loggerhead sea turtle 20 feet away on the surface, and I realized that I needed to get under that water. Here’s a bit of bubbly surface panic, but check out those fish! They kept coming close, giving me curious side-eyed looks:

2 surface panic 2

I clutched the rope, all the way down to 5 feet, adjusting and readjusting my mask, my respirator, and finding all my gauges. I hovered there with Duane, the instructor, while Zach sort of paddled around nearby, getting his bearings. I realized I needed to cry, and then prompltly discovered that there is no crying in scuba diving. I surfaced, jittery, breathed a bit (but didn’t cry!), then went back down. Slowly, slowly descending to 16 ft, whimpering and grasping at my teacher’s jacket, bug-eyed with terror.

2-dive bug eyed terror

Duane had a tablet for communicating, so he wrote encouraging things like “slow down, you’re doing fine” and “no drills yet, this is the fun part”:

3 dive notes

It took me ages to relax and let go of that rope, and then I was only willing to swim in circles around it. Finally, I calmed down and we set off to see all sorts of fishies and corals.

3 blue fish

Zach gave me the camera, which was soothing, and took my mind off basic breathing. Time was almost up, so we went to the back of the boat and rested with our knees on the sandy bottom. Zach did his drills, taking out his respirator, getting it back in, and clearing the water from his mask:

2 respirator

We surfaced and I said something I never thought I’d say “I didn’t want to come back up.” We climbed aboard the Sea Eagle and the crew switched up our gear for fresh tanks.

kate 7

Then we cruised to our next spot. I noticed that my hands were really itchy and tingly. Duane said this was from hydra stings and fire corals that grow on the ropes. A good lesson…I won’t be clutching the rope next time. The second plunge was much easier, though I still asked Rick for a tiny push; it’s psychologically pretty difficult to jump in with that much gear on. It just seems impossible that you’re going to float.

On this dive I got comfortable faster, and did my own drills of taking out my respirator, tossing it behind me, relocating it, and putting it back it. Then we just cruised and swam and took pictures of pretty things. Our coral reef is gorgeous.

2 reef

I didn’t think I could do it, truly. Zach says he knew I was capable, despite all my worries, because he’s seen me work through all kinds of fears.

3 feeling groovy

A brave new adventure! Two more dives next week, then I’ll be a card-carrying, PADI-certified open water diver. This time, I can’t wait to go back under. Zach was glad to send his 20s off with a bang. Happy 30th birthday today, mister!

4 after diving

January visit to Disney World

In mid-January, we rented a car and drove up to Orlando so that Zach could attend the National Tour Association conference for work. My plan was to entertain the Boogedy for a few days and after the conference, the family would head to Disney World. Our RAINY drive up made me feel a little hopeless about our plan to visit the theme park:

driving to orlando

However, the rain cleared up and left it merely cold and cloudy. The boy and I killed two days by ourselves. We spent a few hours each morning hanging out at the McDonalsds playland, killed some time at the mall, found an arcade with several bouncy castles, and ate at a buffet (which the kid thought was an Amazing Experience).

We putted 36 holes at the Pirate-themed mini-golf course (which was too many holes, by the way). This kid is pleased about his hole-in-one, but not about having to get another picture taken:

mini golf orlando

When the conference finished, we changed hotels and stayed at a Disney resort. They gave the Boogedy his own room key-card, and he was so proud of it. Here we are on Day 1 at DW, on the monorail to go to Magic Kingdom. It was a COLD day (like 58 degrees), so we were all bundled up.

WDW 01-02

I’m still dealing with a fascia injury, so we rented a wheelchair and Zach pushed me around. I liked Main Street USA.

WDW 01-03

I liked this picture of my boys in line for It’s A Small World.

WDW 01-04

We enjoyed sitting around inside the circusy Dumbo tent while the kid played with other children and ignored us completely.

WDW playland

Zach’s first bought of nausea came from his own foul gluttony. He spotted a man eating one of these Meat Shanks from across a bridge in Frontierland and couldn’t rest until he’d bought his own Giant turkey leg. We split it amongst the three of us, but it was Still too much, and we threw a bunch away before hitting Space Mountain (perhaps it is obvious to observers that this was the wrong order to do things).

WDW turkey leg

We rode Space Mountain three times on this day and five times on Day 3. All of our pictures looked something like this, but I still wished we’d bought them all.

space mountain

The most terrifying attraction of all, though, was Zach’s Wheelchair Ride of Terror. This crazy ride involved the operator letting go of the handles whenever on a downward grade, or wildly (and unexpectedly) tipping the wheelchair Way, Way back and running erratically. The operator loved the squealing, I think, and startling the onlookers, and didn’t believe it when the rider said “I hate your guts!!”

WDW 01-05 wheelchair ride of terror

The weather warmed up on Day 2, and we went to Animal Kingdom, where they have Everest, the coolest roller coaster. But at some point I forgot that I own a camera, so you’ll have to settle for this one photo of the boy brushing a goat.

WDW 02 brushing goats

Zach’s second bout with nausea came on Day 3 from this Buzz Lightyear interactive ride (back at Magic Kingdom today). The Boogedy got to spin our car around in circles while we shot lasers at Emperor Zurg. Poor Zach then wasn’t himself for the last few rides on Space Mountain.

buzz 1

Yay! Who wants more cotton candy and a funnel cake?!

Getting off the Rock: Orlando and the Upper Keys

We’ve done a fair bit of in-state traveling this winter:

Back in December, the Boogedy and I went up to Key Largo to go camping with Zach and Daisson during their Keys biking and kayaking trip. Here’s the boy in the mosquito netted hammock:

mosquito hammock

Later, dinner at Num Thai with Zach and Daisson.

thai boys

Chilly morning at the campground!

camping

 

After camping, the day warmed up and the Boogedy and I fed the Indigo Parrotfish at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. This was AWESOME. They swam between our legs and ate from our hands. These were the prettiest fish I have ever seen.

blue fish

In January we went to DisneyWorld in Orlando (details tomorrow). Before heading to the theme park each day, we headed to Starbucks because the coffee at DW was….unsatisfactory.

On this sunny morning, we sat outside the coffee shop while the Boogedy pulled pennies from the fountain. He handed them to this baby so that she could have fun throwing them back in. Such a nice boy.

orlando fountain

The McDonalds in Orlando had an awesome playland, which the our kid saw from the car and begged to visit. Here is Zach, asleep near the shoe  cubbies.

asleep in playland

And here is the Boogedy, in the coolest McDonalds bathroom ever.

mcdonals bathroom

On our way home from Orlando, we stopped at an Alligator Farm in the everglades and snapped a couple of pictures:

alligator skin

When I saw these alligator babies (maybe 2 ft long) I thought of my niece, Rachel. As a young teenager, she once expressed the absolute WILLIES about the koi store where the fish swam slick and slippery all over each other! She couldn’t control the shudders.

alligator babies

Then just last weekend, while on our own kayaking trip in the upper Keys, we stopped for lunch at Habanos, a yummy Cuban restaurant in Islamorada. This is the view of the marina and mural from our table. I love the fence.

habanos

Here is the view of my boys, horsing around at the table. I love these goofballs.

habanos boys 1

Bad at Finishing

This has been a slow year for me, creatively, with lots of stalled projects and unfinished business. Today, though, I am showing off two things just completed, and only with the help of others!

One year ago I saw my Aunt Lois, who came to Salt Lake City for my dad’s memorial service. I don’t get to see Lois very often, but when I do, I am always impressed by the way her engineering mind interprets and deconstructs art. She has taught me many new skills over the years.

Lois, like many women in our family, cannot bear to have idle hands, so she brought with her the ingredients and tools for assembling these soft, 3D fabric magic cubes. I flipped for them, and marveled at how she figured it out. I later looked up a model, so that I could understand it more fully. Instructions for building one made from wooden blocks can be found here. She gave me an assembled cube with bright fabrics pinned to the foam blocks, and all I had to do was stitch up the seams.  I am embarrassed at how long it took me to finish, but my kid and all visitors are delighted with the finished product! Thanks Aunt Lois!

*******

Two years ago, I went into a tiny yarn shop in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. It was near closing time and I rushed to choose the best yarn in the place. I bought an expensive skein of Tilli Thomas Flurries named Chocolate Cherry, a supersoft deep brown merino with bright cherry red beads, with the intention of making a purse. I visited a fabric shop in Panama City Beach and purchased a red-on-crimson koi print for lining and a chocolate brown zipper. I knitted a rectangle, coaxed all the beads to the knit side, watched a youtube video on making lined wallets, sewed the zipper to the lining (incorrectly), and …. stopped. There is sat, in the quilt shop plastic bag for two years. My mind could not fathom what I’d done wrong or how to fix it.

A few days ago I showed it to my new friend Daniela, who knew how to fix it, and was willing to pick out the stitches for me. I took the dog for a walk, had an epiphany about how it should have been sewn, and came home to a completed purse!

********

Finally, here is a new embroidered purse my mom made for me! Perfectly timed, too, since I just wore out my everyday purse while camping. It’s still unfinished; my mom only secured one end of the strap, so that I could adjust it to my size and sew it in. I’ll finish in the next day or two, because I need it!

Kite Day

I bought this peacock kite for Zach back in May when I was visiting my family in Salt Lake City. I just love World Market. Zach put it together today. It had dangly, gangly bamboo legs and long tail feathers and was made from painted silk. (Look at both my boys wearing handmade leather shoes I made for them!)

It had the prettiest face. We debated just hanging it from our ceiling for decoration, but ultimately decided on giving our kid the experience of flying a kite, which he had never done before.

Run, run…  But not too fast, it’s just silk and bamboo!

Ah! Flight! Joy!

Damn. Total flight time: 120 seconds.

Discovery Gateway

When we were in SLC, we went to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum for old times sake. We used to have a family membership here and would take the Boogedy regularly, even before he could walk. I used to go nuts in the wintertime with no access to playgrounds. The museum saved my life. On this visit, more than a year since the last time we went, the water smock actually fit.

Just like when he was littler, he wanted to spend all his time putting the plastic balls into the vacuum tubes and watching them zoom around. This was good for at least an hour.

This was the day before we left town and I was exhausted and glad of the opportunity to sit back and visit with Auntie Kristin while the boy occupied himself. Occasionally he dragged her into playing pretend with him.

It was the first time he had ever expressed interest in the helicopter on the balcony. It was also, strangely, the first time Kristin ever came along with us and got suckered into pushing all the buttons.

It was a great way to spend our last day in town.

Jungle Jims

While I was in Salt Lake City, I truly appreciated all the great indoor activities there are for children. One night I met up with Joyelle and her two boys, Mr. A and Mr. X so we could catch up on old times (she is my ex-husband’s little sister, and therefore I have known her since she was a pre-teen). We went to Jungle Jim’s Playland for rides and games.

Joy and I got together for fun a few more times, once to go up to Layton to see my littlest ex-sister-in-law Sunshine (now a mom of three adorable girls and a tall boy!). Another day we went to Ikea, where the boys played in Smaland. The Boogedy wasn’t potty trained last time we went, so this was his first visit to the fun part of Ikea. The weather was rainy and cold, and Mr. A said “Sara, why do you always have on the same clothes?!” I replied that I was only expecting to be in town for 12 days, but now I would be there for a month and I only brought one pair of warm pants and one jacket, which got worn almost every day. Who expected bitter cold and rain in May? I should have. I used to live there, I know better. All my skirts and shorts sat unused in my suitcase for almost the whole stay.

Jungle Jim’s was a really easy place to entertain my kid, so we went back once more with my nephew Jake. Here he is, facing a desperate losing battle against the Boogedy.

 

New Games to Play

I spotted this game while looking for parking the other night. It was displayed on a table for FREE! This is a product that has been “girl-washed”…a toy that I’ve only ever seen in bright primary colors is now being marketed to the princess set. I found this a little bit gross, but will admit that I LOVE valentines day colors.

Prickly Pile Up is a game we’ve had for a year, but the Boogedy is just now getting enough fine-motor skills to enjoy it.

The game of setting these dice into patterns was good for a full hour of play. He got really upset if I messed this up. So I couldn’t help but make some of these “twos” when he wasn’t looking, just to see if he would notice.  He noticed.

This is not what the health department means when they offer free safety checks for carseat installation.

All of my neices and nephews should recognize this type of two-string pull-toy. Mom and Dad made chunky wooden ones shaped like stars and other fun stuff. This is a light-weight fairy at my friend Miss C’s house!

Last week when I went to the laundromat, I heard an adolescent chicken outside, in a panic….sqeaking for his mama. I found her inside, atop the laundry cart. Was she trying to teach him a lesson about staying close? She flew back out to lead him around a moment after this photo was taken.

Miss P got a package from her mother while I was at her house…a childhood Sunbonnet Sue quilt her late grandmother made. Now it will rest on the bed of one of her adorable girls!

 

 

 

Children’s Day

At the tail end of all the festivities that make up Fantasy Fest, there’s an entire afternoon for Children in the Bayview Park. This was great old-school carnival fun, with games and prizes, rides and fried food.

The first thing we did was take a free ride on the Keys Electric Company’s cherry picker. We had to wear our safety harnesses, and we were as high as the trees. It’s amazing what you can pretend not to be afraid of when you want to keep someone else happy.

We bought a hotdog and then waited in line a good 20 minutes in the 85-degree heat for the carousel swings, but we were under the trees and luckily not on a fire-ant-hill.

At this point I was hungry, so I ate a hotdog, and he had a second. Then we went on the Tidal Wave. This is a back-and-forth, round-and-round sort of thing that Zach would get sick just looking at. I had my doubts about doing this right after eating hotdogs, but the little guy would not be swayed.

Turns out the kid inherited my rock solid stomach. We added “look at your feet! Look at the sky! Look behind you!” to further improve the ride.

Then he got to hit the hockey puck into the net. The dollar we spent supported the Junior Hockey League of Key West, and I wondered where they put an ice rink here…roller rink, maybe?

I somehow resisted the temptation of fresh, hot cotton candy, and I kind of wish I hadn’t, because I don’t know when I will get it again.

The next day we walked to the beach and found a box of giveaway books on the curb. He took this one to read under the palms. We put it back in the box on the way home.

Barbies and Bikinis

Growing up, I had all kinds of dolls: a plastic baby crocheted into her own afghan, a hot water bottle wrapped in a washcloth; a drinking and peeing baby; a “lifelike,” ceramic-headed infant with a rounded fabric body and bum weighted with five pounds of little beads; a black-yarn-haired cotton doll the size of a 5 year old that my mom made for me (including her lavender pioneer dress and handbag and white bloomers).

However….

I did not have Barbies. My mother was opposed to the impossible figure they would inspire me to attain, which is fair, because I am a long-waisted 5’3″, which means I have Very short legs. I can wear capris as long pants.

My mom was also opposed to bikinis, because young girls shouldn’t be sexualized or show too much skin. I also didn’t get to wear much  black, because kids should wear lots of happy colors.

Once, when I was nine, my mother’s sister (Aunt Delores) came to town from 2500 miles away. She took me to a bunch of yard sales on Saturday morning and bought me several Barbies with frazzled hair and arthritic knees. She laughed and laughed when she found and bought for me a tall, busty German doll with erect nipples. That one was a non-standard-size doll of impossible figure, so she never got any clothes.

I felt terribly scandalous, then, when I used my sister’s eyeliner to paint one of those Barbies with a black bikini. Twenty-six years later I still remember my mortification when my mom found it under my bed. I thought she’d be furious, so I swore up and down that I hadn’t painted it, that it had come that way.

I wonder if I was a better liar then than I am now? Perhaps when you’re a parent, you just get used to finding strange things in your kids’ rooms. Zach told me he once spent weeks collecting his urine in empty soda pop bottles in his dresser drawer, to “see what would happen.” I’m sure his mom had an absolute fit about it.

Thanks Jane Brocket for reminding me about dolls and pretend play. Also, I had a fun time reminiscing about the toys of the 80′s at this website.


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