Sunday, August 10, 2008

A new swimmer

We went to a pool yesterday for Ellie's family birthday party. I'm not much for swimming, but the kids all wanted me to get in. OK. Well, this time something fantastic happened.

You see, Thomas, like his brother before him, has been very reluctant to get in the water very much. This year he finally put his face in the water, but he has still just stood in one place and not gone any further, no matter how much we prodded. Last time he did go a step further: he would jump to me from the side of the pool. He liked to have me carry him around on the top of the water, acting like Superman.

But this time, as he jumped toward me from the steps, I went out further, and he jumped all the way in the water and kept his head down and kicked to make it all the way to me! I couldn't believe it. He did it over and over, calmly keeping his head down and holding his breath until he was ready to grab my hands and pull himself up. So I told him to keep kicking his legs (and he made sure by asking later "I kick my legs?"), and sure enough he'd jump in and kick himself forward to me. I even had him jump from me toward the steps; one of those times he didn't quite make it and came up coughing and sputtering and he didn't want to do that for a while, but he did it again before we left. It was awesome, and he really had a great time doing it, over and over. He's going to end up being a good swimmer.

As I said, Tolman took a long time to really get in the water and swim, but he really takes to the water now; someone yesterday called him a fish. I see Thomas turing out the same way.

At night, Lynnette and I watched the Olympics and saw Michael Phelps win the 4x100 race, breaking a world record by a full body-length. They did a story on him, telling how his coach talked to his mother about aiming for the Olympics when he was 11 years old. The best part was when his mother told what happened after he won his first gold medal: he was walking toward her, genuinely excited and happy about winning, and he reminded her of when he was a little boy, peanut butter sandwich in had, so excited about something that his eyes just shone.

Who knows what accomplishments I'll see in my kids' futures? All I know is that I've had a taste of what it's like when they do better, and I smile as I anticipate more of it in the future.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dancing and Skating Together

Tonight we all went to the street dancing at Bountiful's Summerfest, where we have dancers from around the world perform and allow us to dance with them in the street. We saw some square dancing by people from Denver, some Russian dancing by Cossack youths, and some other group dancing by Greeks. Fun stuff!

What was awesome was that everyone enjoyed something: Lynnette enjoyed my dancing (maybe because I'm so adept at embarrassing myself); Olivia got to dance flamboyantly in the street with other people; Ellie and Tolman skated down some sloping streets on their Wave skateboards; and Thomas caught serious air because I'd pull him up by the arm as he jumped. I enjoyed it all!

What's particularly rewarding is that there was a lot of whining and anger before we left, but everyone has a much better attitude after just a few minutes at the event. Physical fun is good for the soul.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I appreciate what I have.

Expressing gratitude for other people is a great way to build ties and bring a little more intensity of feeling to your day. But this morning I've seen around me a ton wonderful things that I have that make my life easier or more fun.

  • We're growing corn and tomatoes, and there's just something cool about seeing these things thrive and emerge into something fantastic with very little prodding. (Well, in my case, "thrive" isn't the right word, but they're cool anyway.) I just noticed that my tallest corn stalk is taller than I am. Yessss!
  • We are so lucky to have air conditioning, as well as all the other goodies in our house: running water, a stove, a microwave, comfortable furniture, and on and on. There are so many things that add up to make life much more pleasant.
  • Computers are incredible machines. I work on them every day, but I still appreciate how much they can do: I remember my first "Aha!" moment when I made a picture by printing out a bunch of text in the shape of a tree; I love how you can make ideas come to life with programming. But even without that education, there is so much more that we can do nowadays on these things, and it can be a lot of fun.
It's good to be alive. There has been a lot of effort put in by other people that brings us tangible benefits today, no matter where we live. Realizing that makes some genuine appreciation to life.