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Month: September 2015

Be Patient — Lessons Learned from a Cat Adoption

Last week at church, I felt very convicted during the message. Ephesians 4:2- Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient .Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love.

Ironically, as he was talking about patience, I sat there thinking: “I wish he’d get to the part about how to achieve patience.” No joke. The irony of that thought process wasn’t lost on me. I already said I felt convicted.

Latte, a 21-pound Maine Coon
Latte, a 21-pound Maine Coon

The very same weekend I heard that message, this beast came to live with me. (The cat, not the boy — he’s lived with me since I gave birth to him.)

I’m not a cat person. I always tell people, “I love cats that live with other people.” And that’s true. I like to give my neighbor’s cat a can of tuna now and then. Because of this, he loves me. He visits my porch and rubs up against my leg and sometimes purrs. Sometimes, though, he visits my porch and runs when I reach down to pet him. Sometimes, he bites me. For no apparent reason. I don’t get that.

My beautiful, sweet, loving Golden Retriever would rather die than bite my hand. She’d rather die twice, slowly and painfully, than bite my children. When I call her, she comes running to my side. When I don’t call her, she comes running to my side, covering me in her silky abundant hair.

She is a constant, loyal companion who is as overjoyed to see us when we have been absent only 10 minutes as she is when we’ve been absent 10 days. I don’t get that, either, but I like it. Dogs give instant gratification and are predictable. Cats do things in their own time and in their own way.

Our beautiful golden, Ellie, really wants to be friends with Latte.
Our beautiful golden, Ellie, really wants to be friends with Latte.

And that’s the crux of the matter. I don’t like cats because: they aren’t on my timeline; they are unpredictable; and, they do not bend to my will.

So why would I become a player in a cat adoption?

Enter Latte, a 4-year-old, 20-pound Maine Coon cat in need of a home. His owner, an elderly woman, is moving out of state with her sister who is allergic to cats.

That is not a dramatic, heart-wrenching story. It’s certainly not a story that would have moved me to adopt a cat. In fact, in hindsight, I can’t think of a story that would have moved me to adopt a cat.

I’m one of those people who is glad that no-kill shelters exist because I know they are super important to some people, but the euthanasia of unwanted animals is not at the top, or even at the bottom, of my list of causes warranting my personal attention or sacrifice.

So why did I bring this cat home?

The story I told myself is long and convoluted. And as I sat in church less than 48 hours after bringing this cat home for a “trial” adoption, it occurred to me that God had a hand in sending me Latte. Because the cat is teaching me about patience. Or, at least he’s reminding me of the value of patience. His presence is also requiring me to work with my 7-year-old on the character trait of patience. That, alone – working with an impatient 7-year-old on patience – requires a GREAT DEAL OF PATIENCE.

The poor cat was so afraid when we first brought him to our home. It had lived its four years in the small, quiet home of an elderly woman with limited exposure to other people or other animals.

Our home is bigger, much, much louder, with five regular inhabitants, including the energetic 7-year-old, plus her friends, plus the friends of my 17-year-old son. Plus a 60-pound Golden Retriever who wants nothing more than to be friends.

In the first 24 hours, Latte hid behind a toilet. He hid under beds and behind and under couches. He yowled. He hissed when the dog came within 20 feet. He slapped at the dog, missed the dog and cut my leg with his razor sharp claws. He did nothing to endear himself to us.

In hindsight, we weren’t doing anything to endear ourselves to him, either. (Trying to pet him, talk to him, coax him out of hiding places, reaching for him, giving him run of the whole house . . )

I called my friend who arranged for the home visit/trial adoption and asked for advice. She said:

“Put all his stuff in one room – litter, food, toys. Then put a box in that room. Then put him in that room and close the door so he feels safe. Keep the door closed until he cries to have it opened. Go in to visit with him, but don’t try to touch him. Let him come to you. Don’t try to pet him or reach for him when he’s in the box.”

Some pet.

We did it. And we told my daughter to do it.

As soon as we put the box in the room, he ran into it. And went right to sleep. He was obviously exhausted from the transition. I don’t think he had slept in 24 hours.

Ginger reads to Latte.
Ginger reads to Latte.

Then my daughter sat down next to the box and read to the cat. For 30 minutes. He opened his eyes and stared at her. He seemed calmer.

The next morning, he sought a little interaction with us, meowing, purring and rubbing against our legs. We were excited. “Yea. He likes us.”

That lasted for about 90 seconds, and then he was back to the box and turning his head away when we spoke to him.

Still, we’d seen proof, however brief, of the sweet affectionate cat that his previous owner described him to be.

Latte has been with us now for more than a week. He is very loving and affectionate (for a cat) first thing in the morning. He’s cordial at night, seeking to be near us but not desiring any physical touch. During the hours between early morning and night, he seeks solitude, usually under my college-aged daughter’s bed – the room where no one lives most of the time.

He’s our pet on his terms, on his timeline. Maybe he’s not our pet — maybe we’re his family. For some reason, we all really like him. I believe the trial visit has turned into an official adoption.

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. That approach worked with a freaked-out cat whose entire world was turned upside down. I am trying to remember that as I interact with my kids, my husband, the clerk at the bank, the unfriendly neighbor . . . . .

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Indianapolis Nestle Inn Bed and Breakfast is Five Stars

Originally published Feb. 5, 2012

Nestle Inn in Indianapolis
Nestle Inn in Indianapolis

The Nestle Inn Bed and Breakfast near downtown Indianapolis is one of the most charming, comfortable, character-infused, locationally-gifted B&B’s I have ever visited.

I recently had the pleasure of spending two nights at this urban B&B when my teenage daughter and I were in Indianapolis for a swim meet.  Here are some of the things we loved about the Nestle Inn:

The home has the historic look and feel of an old dwelling, dating back to the mid-1800’s, but it has all the modern amenities tucked within its walls. Our room was furnished with a large, comfortable bed and an awesome mattress, a nice desk for working/surfing, fast, wireless Internet, modern bathroom fixtures and toiletries, and a beautiful antique wardrobe that housed a nice television and DVD player. Plus, despite the frigid temperatures outside, the house was WARM — unusual for an older structure.

The Inn is “nestled” into Mass Avenue in Indy, making it a great place to visit anytime of year because of its proximity to the theatre, arts, shopping, pubs, breweries and fabulous restaurants. It literally is in the heart of the theatre district, and although we didn’t get to enjoy any of the theatre venues because of our swim meet schedule, we loved the environment of the surrounding blocks. The area is busy with foot traffic and abuzz with people having fun, making it a fun place to be, even if you are going to be spending most of your time at IUPUI’s Natatorium. And speaking of IUPUI, it only took us minutes to drive from the B&B to the campus and the Natatorium, as well as all the other downtown hotspots. The Nestle Inn also sits on the Cultural Trail in Indy, which is a bike and pedestrian path that is nine miles long and connects all the “neighborhoods” of the city.

Innkeepers Leesa and Bob Smith strive to deliver individualized service to their guests. They helped us navigate the city (and even “talked me back” to the Inn one night when I managed to get hopelessly lost after leaving the pool); left movies in our room after I had inquired where to rent them because we just wanted to relax after a long day; and prepared a “breakfast care package to go” for my teen and left it hanging on our doorknob after learning that she had to be in the pool for warm-ups by 6 a.m. and would, therefore, miss breakfast at the Inn.

11143334_887458887944133_2824221736198383797_nThe library at the Inn is amazing. My first morning there, I woke before my daughter and carried my laptop into the library to answer emails and do some Internet research. The furniture was comfortable; the walls were lined with interesting books and periodicals; and the coffee, creamers and snacks set out on the table were a wonderful surprise, considering I was up before the sun the house sounded as though everyone was still sleeping.

Parking was easy, which was unexpected considering the urban setting. Most times, we were able to find a spot on the street right in front of the Inn. But, Leesa gave us a pass to a parking lot one block away in case we couldn’t find street parking or were unsuccessful achieving a solid parallel parking job.

The food was delicious and FUN. That’s because during the week, you are treated to breakfast next door at Henry’s Coffee Bistro, an eclectic coffee shop with lattes, hot breakfast sandwiches, sweets and waffles for breakfast and a host other tasty food for brunch and lunch. On Saturday and Sunday, breakfast is at the Inn and the one I enjoyed included delights such as “just right potato bites,” an Eggs Benedict-like entree, fresh fruit and homemade banana-bread muffins, among other treats.

Now that I’ve shared what I loved about the Nestle Inn, let me share some additional trivia about this wonderful B&B:

Bob and Leesa purchased the Inn in September 2011 from the previous innkeepers who wanted to retire. (They had operated the Inn since 2000). Bob is a psychotherapist and a 29-year career firefighter/paramedic. Leesa is an Innkeeper with more than 29 years experience in the hospitality industry and in business and marketing.

In the mid-1800s, Jonathon and Alice Stewart lived in a small, one-story dwelling on the site of the current Nestle Inn. In 1896, John built their residence as a two-family home, adjoining two structures together so that their families could live close to each other. They lived in the home until 1920 and then the entire house was rented to a long series of short-term tenants including Carl F. Mellian, a machinist and Grant Kelner, a cigarmaker. The house also served as a boarding house for young women who came to Indianapolis during the turn of the century to work at the Real Silk glove factory located nearby on Park Street.

In 2000, Steve and Barb Tegaren bought the home and restored it to a five-room Inn. They operated it for 10 years, welcoming visitors and friends and establishing the Inn as the No. 1 B&B in Indianapolis, according to Trip Advisor. (I’ll second that!)

The Nestle Inn has proven to be a great destination for a girls weekend getaway or a family gathering. In fact, Leesa recently rented the whole house to a family who was celebrating their mother’s birthday. Leesa was delighted to watch the kids hanging out in their jammies while parents relaxed drinking wine and the grandparents enjoyed having the whole clan gathered together under one cozy roof. She also hosted a women’s book club that found the Inn to be the perfect spot for their needs.

I honestly cannot wait to return to the Nestle Inn and am already trying to figure out what “occasion” I’m going to use as my excuse. So, the next time you want or need to visit Indy, whether for business, pleasure or kids’ sports, skip the chain hotels and give Leesa and Bob a call. You won’t regret it.

Done Waiting on My Weight – My Whole30 Success Story

I threw away my scales. I’m finally free to the life God intended me to live, unencumbered by a number.

whole30 success
I am no longer a slave to these devices.

That is the priceless, immeasurable result of my Whole30.

For the first time in 34 years, my relationship with gravity and the device used to scientifically measure that relationship no longer determine my mood, dictate my happiness or demean my sense of self worth.

I put two of my scales in the trashcan, on trash day, and let the trash man haul them away. I meant it literally when I said I threw away my scales. And I asked my husband to take the third that we use to weigh luggage before we travel to his office and store it there.

Background

The chains binding me to those scales stretch over three decades. I’ve had self-esteem and body image issues since age 14. When I hit puberty, my previously thin body and raging metabolism turned against me. I gained weight and was subjected to sometimes-weekly weigh-ins in front of my family because my mother thought that would motivate me and help me adhere to a diet and stay trim for pageants, dating and cheerleading tryouts. It didn’t – it had the opposite effect.

As a teen, I did Weight Watchers (which was horribly humiliating), Elaine Powers, jogged, fasted, started smoking, took diet pills and did any number of other things to attempt to lose weight.

I went away to college weighing 180 pounds on a 5’5” frame and was wearing a tight size 14/16. Then I got sick with an ulcer and experienced what seemed like and overnight return to my size 8 pants — because it hurt like hell to eat. Very. Effective. Diet.

I vowed to never get “fat” again, and I pretty much kept that promise to myself, but only through a lot of self denial, severe diets, tons of exercise and a scale obsession.

I stepped on my scale everyday. Sometimes several times a day. Sometimes on different scales to try to get a different, lower, better number.

I almost starved myself in the nine months preceding my wedding, wreaking havoc on my metabolism and blood sugar but getting thinner than I had been in high school.

I ate salads for the first two years of my marriage, except when I couldn’t stand it anymore and then I’d eat everything chocolate and “non-salady” in sight. Then I’d feel lousy and return to salads with no cheese and barely any dressing. I started running regularly and eventually ran half marathons and three full marathons.

I went on severe restricted calorie diets after my first two pregnancies to lose the baby weight and went back to Weight Watchers after my third baby, who I had at age 40. This time, I wasn’t humiliated because I wasn’t 16 years old. This time, I achieved my goal weight and lifetime member status.

But as my 40s progressed, I was having a harder and harder time keeping weight off and was feeling worse and worse about myself. I ran more. And I weighed more. And I hated the scale and my body more.

I decided to become a Beachbody coach, because surely leading other people through fitness and nutrition challenges would hold me accountable and help me lose weight and keep it off.

Then I became a certified personal trainer and certified group exercise instructor and began teaching classes.

During 2013 and 2014, I did the 21-Day Fix. I did the Ultimate Reset. I did the 3-Day Refresh I did P90X3. I did PiYo and got certified to teach it. I did Insanity and got certified to teach it.

Everything worked and nothing worked.

Because I didn’t fix my head and I didn’t fix my heart. I didn’t like me. The goal was weight loss. When I achieved it, I was happy. For a time.

But I was unhappy when I gained weight. Or when I didn’t lose it fast enough. Or when I returned to my candy and chocolate habit or my Diet Coke or sugar-free French Vanilla creamer in my coffee or flavored Stevia in my carbonated water or spoonfuls of peanut butter just before bed to satisfy my sugar dragon and because I deserved it — I needed it — after a day of skipping meals or skimping on calories.

The Beginning of the End

My Whole30 calendar countdown.
My Whole30 calendar countdown.

I saw a powerful video several months ago (link below). It sparked something in my soul and I knew I needed a paradigm shift, but that shift didn’t happen until I found the Whole30.

I completed my first Whole30 on September 4, 2015. I complied with the program 100 percent, including the part about not stepping on the scale. But from the beginning, I planned to step on it the instant my 30 days were up. In fact, I was discouraged when I read some of the information that kept repeating how this was not a weight loss program. I was just certain it was a weight loss program and I focused on the testimonials of all the people who had lost weight.

I wanted to be thinner. I wanted to wear a smaller size. I wanted to lose these 10 pounds that I have always wanted to lose and then I was certain I would be satisfied and happy with my body. Finally.

But something happened. Within a week, my husband commented that I was eating more food than he’d ever seen me eat in 22 years of marriage. I was sitting down to meals with my family with a full plate of real food – not a shake, not a plate full of lettuce, not portions measured out in containers or weighed on scales, no calculator to count calories or points or grams of fat, protein or carbs. My little girl noticed too.

I wasn’t hungry or feeling deprived. I missed sugar at first, but eliminating artificial sweetener for my coffee, diet soda and all the other sugar-free fixes I’ve used during previous “diets” set me up for success. The sugar cravings disappeared in a few days.

Within two weeks, I noticed that my stomach was flatter and my clothes felt better. I was feeling GREAT – mentally and physically — and was tempted to step on my scale. I wanted a tangible measurement of my success. My best friend who is doing the program with me encouraged me to stay off of it. We both talked about how we were feeling better and how our clothes were fitting better. She said, “Do you want to let the scale steal your joy?” And she was right. So I resisted the temptation.

I started to think that my mood might be a factor in how I was feeling when I looked in the mirror. And maybe it wasn’t weight loss afterall. Again, I was briefly — VERY BRIEFLY — tempted to step on the scale. But I stopped. Because if I like what I’m seeing, and I like what I’m feeling, then I don’t want a number to change my mind.

And so I rid my house of the scales. These habits and beliefs connected to the scale took decades to form. I don’t want a bad day or a moment of temporary Whole30 (and now Whole9) weakness to tempt me into believing the lies the scale tells me anymore.

Success & Whole30 Reintroduction

This photo gallery shows me enjoying life — what you can’t know but what I will tell you is that the number on the scale used to determine the level of enjoyment I had, regardless of the event. Not anymore.

And I am now in the “reintroduction” stage and I’m taking it super slow. I don’t plan to reintroduce everything. Sugar is a dragon and one that I will have to be very careful and cautious about keeping on a short, fireproof leash. I added it back in first because of a special event. I had a treat and then left it at that — no binging on chocolate and all other things sugar afterward. Then I had a treat a days later with the same self control and intentional enjoyment. I LOVE this.

I plan to live mostly compliant to a Whole30 lifetsyle – I’m still meal-planning, cooking recipes from the book and all the other resources  suggested throughout the program – I subscribed to the daily emails and I highly recommend them. They were a big part of my success, as was TheClothesMakeTheGirl website, which gave a lot of variety to my program. I am reading everything I can about the Whole9 Life. I’m shopping differently and cooking differently and eating more and sharing more meals with my family. My friend (who has had great success, as well) and I plan to do some joint cooking sessions to share food. It. Feels. Good.

I am no longer “waiting to be fully alive” because of “weight.” Watch this amazing video by Emily Timmer (excerpt below) if you want to see what gave me the motivation to make this shift:

We speak of weight in pounds, in kilograms… measurements of guilt and shame… The ideal of “thinness” our singular aim, and hit or miss we’re so bound up in blame… Blame for that five pound gain, that indulgent meal, that failure on the scale. Again and again. And again. There’s pain… And it sits in our bellies – too deep to be carved away by calorie cutting, calisthenics, or cardio … We almost feel insane – cycling ceaselessly through the same closed loop of self-abuse. Why can’t I be thinner? Why can’t I look like her? … Then there’s the mirror… We use it like a whip… staring into it and abusing ourselves for our thighs, our arms, our hips. We look, we see our reflection, and curses fall from our lips. One thing controls us. And this is it…

 Our body size, our Weight… Wait. We wait to be fully alive, feeling disallowed from joy, unable to REALLY live… until our size can be something other than “big.”

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Adult Friendships – Make New Friends But Keep the Old

PREVIOUSLY POSTED AUG. 2008

I mentioned in a previous post that I recently hooked up with a very dear, almost life-long friend. My friend and I met as freshmen in high school.  We took classes together, partied together, traveled together and even lived together (rather peacefully, in fact) in an apartment until I lost my job and had to relocate to South Carolina for a new job. My friend visited me in South Carolina, was in my wedding and visited me in the hospital when I had my first baby.  When my husband worked nights and weekends while my first-born was young, she kept me company and provided much-needed “adult” conversation.

Then my husband’s schedule changed and he was home at night and on the weekends.  I had another baby.  then dance lessons, soccer practice, life as a wife and mom took over.  Meanwhile, my friend advanced in her career and started traveling the globe on incentive trips.  She even invited me to go on one with her — all expenses paid for a week in Scotland.  I really wanted to go, but my “babies” were 6 and 3, and I couldn’t bear to leave them for that long.

We made the effort to get together several times a year, then once or twice a year.  Eventually, we got to the point where we’d only see each other once a year.  We’d lament this fact every time we’d hook up because we always had so much fun.  We laugh about old memories and how no matter how much time passes, we’re still basically the same people.  We were both raised by cops, thus we’re both terrible cynics.  (really, NOTHING good happens after midnight!) We agree on things like crime and punishment. We both love strappy sandals, but think you MUST have painted toenails to wear strappy sandals. You know — all the important stuff.

I used to get upset that we didn’t see each other more often, and my friend would console me by saying that her mom told her this would happen. She said that friends “drift” some during the  childbearing/childrearing years, particularly if they don’t both go through those years at the same time.  Her mom said that you get so busy during those years that the only friends you have time for are the ones who have kids the same ages as yours and/or kids who are involved in the same activities.  But, her mom concluded (all of this from experience) that once you get those kids raised, you gravitate back to those “old” friends because “they knew you when” — and there is simply no replacement for that intimate knowledge.

As my friend and I sat at the water park and watched my baby play, I came to the conclusion that her mom’s predictions will prove to be true.  In the meantime, we’ll cherish these few get-togethers and do what we always do.  We laughed at some of the antics of our youth, and my friend promised to pray that my own children don’t try half the stuff we tried. We laughed even harder at the minor (and sometimes not so minor) dysfunctions in our families of origin. We talked about whether she might ever get married, and if not, will she try to have a baby without a husband.  She shared her exciting stories of global travel with me, and I shared stories of being a mom to a teenager, a pre-teen and baby all at once. And we talked about those years in the future when we can get together more often, maybe even travel together again.

I’m very thankful that we make the effort to stay in touch, even if our encounters are few and far between.  I know I’ll be glad when I’m old and she and I are attending Red Hat Ladies luncheons, or we’re sunning our wrinkled old bodies on a beach somewhere.

UPDATE May 9, 2015

Awesome morning exercising with one of my bestie’s since high 10258681_10152908937665488_3637393969448378393_nschool, Jan Wadsack . But the BEST part? The trip down memory lane! As we were leaving, she was following me because we were trying to find a place to have coffee near Creve Coeur Park. And this was in the rearview mirror because of Jan’s expired plates, of which she was unaware. It has been AGES — like 30 years — since these two daughters of police officers were pulled over together. Being that our dads, and Jan’s uncle, all wore the badge, we could not go ANYWHERE without some police officer keeping an eye on us. One officer in particular pulled us over regularly just to harass us. I wish I had thought to ask the officer today to pose with us for a photo with his lights a-blazing. Another bonus — he didn’t give Jan a ticket!

Parenting a Swimmer

REPUBLISHED FROM 2010

I’ve been a little hesitant to write this post because a Mom blogger always needs to be mindful of the privacy rights of her children. However, my teenage daughter has shared her swimming struggles somewhat publicly lately, and I thought if it would help another swimmer or another mom or dad struggling to parent a teenage athlete, then maybe it would be a good thing to share here.

My 14-year-old swims competitively and she is very serious about her sport. She has five sectional cuts, but since she turned 14 last spring, she has been adding lots of time in her events (not a good thing for you non-swimming readers).

Her body changed from the body of a child to the body of a woman, as is the case for many 14-year-olds. With those changes came some problems with her strokes. She worked very hard all summer and early this fall to correct those problems. She NEVER EVER misses a practice — early morning, evening, late afternoon, weekend, holiday — she’s there. She doesn’t back off at practice either — according to her coaches and some of her teammates, she is one of the hardest workers in the pool. She does the dry-land work that our swim club provides her, and she continues to compete in swim meets.

We attended a swim meet in Columbia, MO a few weeks ago at which she had hoped to come close to swimming her best times. It didn’t happen. She had big adds in her best events. Because she was feeling good about the progress she had made on her strokes, it was hard for her to experience this again. And because I’d heard some of the positive feedback regarding her stroke work, I also had higher expectations about what would happen this past weekend. So initially, I was was frustrated with the results, too.

But then I had some great conversations with other parents and with one of her coaches, and I have to say, I’m even more proud to be this young lady’s mother. The parents reassured me that this is so very normal. Many of them shared stories in which their own daughters went through the very same thing around the same age.

I’d heard this, but it helps to hear it again and again. Not all swimmers go through this, but a lot of them do, and many of them add time in their best events for more than a year. I remember one young lady in our club going through this a few years ago. She had been a “young star”  and then all of a sudden, she was adding time at every meet. At the time, I remember admiring her perseverance and telling my daughter to make a mental note of her work ethic. Of course, I hoped against hope that it “wouldn’t happen to my kid,” but I guess my daughter DID make a mental note, becuase she is now doing exactly what that young lady did. And you know what? That swimmer is one of my daughter’s biggest supporters, joking with her, reminding her of the struggles she endured, encouraging her to keep working hard at practice even when it’s not the popular thing to do. And her parents are among those reassuring me on a regular basis. That helps a lot.

One of the coaches told me that the she’s doing everything she should be doing to pull through this minus one — she needs to readjust her expectations. He said that when she competes in her next meet, she should look to drop off of her times from the meet in Columbia — NOT to drop time off her BEST times. He said it may still be months before she is coming close to swimming her best times. I cannot tell you how much that simple thing helped us. He also said as her parents, our job is to NOT get frustrated with her, but to support her.

He said part of supporting her includes never questioning the program she is following in front of her because she needs for us to believe in what she’s doing and in her coaches as much as she does.

We aren’t the kind of parents who question the program. I know there are parents who jump ship to another club the minute their kids start struggling, blaming the coaches or some aspect of the training program for the issue. That’s not us. But it was good to be reminded of this so that we can talk to her about how MUCH we believe in her coaches and in her training program.

So, we just had another meet this weekend, and we did the whole “adjusted expectations” thing. It was so liberating. And you know what — she DID drop from almost all the times she swam in Columbia. She didn’t hit any of her best times — the closest she came was 3 seconds in her 200 free. But she left the meet feeling successful. Her coaches told her that her strokes are back to looking like they should. Now, she just needs to work on doing them faster.

So, if you’re the parent of a swimmer who is going through this, I hope you have coaches who are as wise as our coaches and as willing to comfort and reassure parents. If you don’t, maybe this post will help you support your swimmer through his or her trials.

UPDATE: My daughter posted this in 2013 on her Facebook page with a comment thanking her Dad and I for being supportive of her during her swimming career. I was brought to tears by the sweet gesture, especially after I read the article. I like to think that we followed the advice in the article more often than not, and I really appreciated her saying that we had. I think it’s a good article to share again, because it’s something all parents of young athletes should try to remember — the message is “I love to watch you play.”!

http://growingleaders.com/blog/what-parents-should-say-as-their-kids-perform/

 

 

Embassy Suites Best of Hotels in Oklahoma City

ES_atriuminterior_6_712x342_FitToBoxSmallDimension_CenterMy husband and I and our preschooler recently stayed at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City and I can’t say enough about the experience. I’ve stayed at these properties before, but it’s been a few years and I’d forgotten how much better Embassy Suites is at making a stay away from home more of a vacation than a stay away from home.

You get a sense of how delightful your visit is going to be when you walk into the lobby to check-in. The lobby area is gorgeous and gives you the sense that you are staying at a resort — plus the desk staff is so efficient and accommodating that there isn’t any lobby chaos.

Our king bedded suites are perfect for the business traveler; offering complete comfort with our new bedding package.
Our king bedded suites are perfect for the business traveler; offering complete comfort with our new bedding package.

The rooms are large and have all the amenities. There’s a spacious front room with a nice television, comfortable couch, good size desk and swivel chair, counter and sink equipped with a coffee maker (an essential in my opinion) as well as a refrigerator and microwave. Of course, the hotel offers free wireless Internet access and I had a lot of work to accomplish while I was visiting, so the Internet speed was important to me. I wasn’t disappointed. At one point, I had a problem accessing a secure site for one of my clients and I called the front desk. I was immediately connected to tech support (which made me groan internally, suspecting that I’d be on the phone until my next birthday). Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at the efficiency and my problem was resolved effortlessly.

The bedroom area of the suite was standard and very clean. We had a room with two double beds, which was perfect for our needs. The beds were comfortable, the room temperature was easy to control, and very little, if any, noise filtered from the hallway into the back bedroom part of the suite. Housekeeping was as efficient as the lobby staff and things we needed (an extra pillow and more coffee) were delivered to our room within minutes of our requests. We enjoyed being able to rent movies in our room that are still in theaters for a cost of about $12 per movie, which made for a cheap “date night” for my husband and I after putting our youngster to bed (another plus of staying at Embassy Suites when traveling with children — there is a separate room to make them go to bed at their regular bedtime!)

The biggest PLUS of this hotel, however, is the amazing breakfast! We honestly could not believe the spread, which is free of charge! It included:

An omelet station with multiples choices including meats, cheese, peppers and even spinach (heaven!)

  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Sausage & bacon
  • Hot oatmeal and toppings
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Donuts and other pastries

The hotel saw to all the details, such as warm syrups for the pancakes and waffles, hot sauces and salsa for those of us who like to spice up our omelets, jellies and jams, and even extra omelet-making stations when the lines started getting long. Even on Sunday morning when it was very crowded, we didn’t have to wait long for a custom omelet and hotel staff kept stopping by our table to see if we needed anything.

Each night, the hotel also offered a happy hour with free drinks and snacks. And we ate at the hotel restaurant one night, which offered a decent menu, good service and good eats.

The hotel is a stone’s throw from the airport and an easy drive to other Oklahoma City attractions. Rates range from about $109 to $144 (these are estimates). It’s a little higher than a few other nearby hotels, but when you factor in the money we saved on breakfasts, snacks and drinks, it’s a wash. Plus, the service, amenities and rooms are superior. I’d give it five stars and recommend Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City to everyone traveling to that destination.