...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


treading new waters


We took a little detour from the Galleria's play area this past Saturday, and instead, ventured inside Slappy's Puppet Playhouse to watch a marionette puppet show! In the past, we've always popped in to let the kids play with the wooden toys, castles and puzzles on display while Aaron and I would catch our breaths from chasing and shielding Ava & Noah through the germy Jungle play zone.

The Hammers and their 2 beautiful girls joined us for the 10:30am show for The Little Mermaid. The setup inside of the "theater" is small, quaint, and homemade - just like it should be. The intro by the stage manager was sincere but painfully long. After 20 minutes... the curtains finally lifted and the anticipation grabbed our attention...

The production, performed by a live-cast, had a modern-day take on the Disney story I was expecting. The dialogue was catered for older kids [I'm guessing over 6] more so than our little art-goers we are trying to introduce into the theater scene.


So, Ava couldn't keep up. Triton causing waves, a mermaid crying for what she couldn't have, Prince Eric's arranged marriage to Shirley Temple and songs from various decades added more confusion than I was use to. Ava deferred her attention to the little girl next to her she'd rather be running and playing with, Maya, who was entranced by the spectacle and unmoved by Ava's interruptions. I had to deflect Ava's gaze with a bowl of Kix. Then juice. And try to explain why "Michelle" was crying for a prince. [And for the first time, I actually stopped to think about the varying degrees of messages we were exposing our kids to. If you're desperate, go make a deal with the sea witch. Lovely.]

Noah, upon finishing his bottle, was determined to walk and socialize - from the front row. I'm not sure how it ended, but it did - with Ava wondering where the curtains for the exit were. We hit the play area as fast as we could until our stomachs pulled us towards the Grand Lux Cafe for lunch. This was a new place recommended by our friends - and I must say, it is wonderful! Family-friendly, courteous, and a delightful menu that pleased everyone at our table.

Back home, Ava asked me to read her the mermaid bubble book during bath time. "Whooshing and swooshing, they go for a mermaid swim..." On Sunday morning, she asked to go swimming. I usually say "I don't think that's a good idea" or that the UV rays are too strong after 11am - but for some reason, I let her - thinking about how much mermaids have been on her mind lately.

Aaron lathered the sunscreen thick and before we knew it, Ava found her gills and started swimming by herself! [With the help of inner floaties of course]. She balanced her feet below her, waved her hands underwater and moved above water like a tiny pink motorboat from one end of the pool to the other, collecting balls for Noah. We praised, clapped, splashed and cheered. I don't know how much of yesterday's performance she saw for it to have any kind of impact over her ambition to learn how to swim. Maybe it was the pictures of Sandy swimming with dolphins? Or the visit to the splash park and our You Can Do Anything Ava mantra we chanted over and over last week?


Maybe it was all of that. Or maybe it wasn't - and the sheer beauty of having patience instead? Her diligence to swim almost daily within the boundaries we set for her [no more than 20 minutes, before the sun gets too hot, wear a floation device and sunscreen!] - gave her the encouragement she needed to finally do so on her own will and time. And it also gave her insight on the value of practice and working hard for what you love.

No deals with a sea witch or courting a prince necessary.


  1. I'm so proud of seeing Ava GO! her first lesson in life to be independent. She can swim anywhere she wants in this world, without someone holding her hand. And for her to know that at this age, her limits are endless. I love you all.

  2. This was one of those truly amazing events that just makes a parent absolutely smitten.

    Ava has been getting more and more brave every time she gets in the pool. Before we went swimming yesterday, she wanted to wear her green swim suit sans the built in floaties her pink one has, but we decided to convince her to wear it instead.

    When we do go swimming, she usually starts at the steps and says 'Daddy, I'm going to swim to you'. If i happen to get too close, she points with 1 finger commanding me to scoot back and not touch her. I start at two feet away so she can practically fall into my arms, and i make my way further back with each one of her leaps. When she was getting even more brave, I asked if she wanted to swim by herself and without hesitation, she said 'Yes'. Two weeks ago, I would have gotten a look like I was crazy and a resounding 'No Daddy - Ava is scared'.

    I pulled her to the middle of the pool with Noah in one arm and her in the other. I warned her that at the count of 3, I was going to let go. She had a huge grin on her face... so big that I had a feeling that this time it was going to be different. I started the count.



    Then i let go expecting her to sink an inch or two before she reached her little fins out to grab me, but instead she floated.

    She looked at me probably wondering why i never made it to three. I lifted my free hand above the water and showed her that she was, in fact, floating by herself. She squealed and started running in place and cupping the water with her hands like Zarlacht taught her to do and there you have it! Our little mermaid was swimming.

    Before we got out, she was doing all the things that she previously had probably only thought about. She instructed me to stay put while she went and got a ball for Noah that was all the way over in the deep end. She started heading over to the ball and 2 minutes later, she returned to us triumphantly with a ball in one hand and gave it to Noah. He was grinning from ear to ear - happy he got the ball, and probably just as happy to see the jubilation in his sisters face.

    Minutes later, she was showing off how she could paddle with her hands only and push her little legs skyward to expose her little toes to the fresh air, much like a submarine does with its periscope, only instead of one, I saw ten little periscopes poking above the water.

    How great is that?

    The rest of the summer could pass with nothing spectacular to speak of, but I have this memory to cherish forever. This is one of those memories that just makes life worth living.

    Being a parent is awesome!

  3. Oh Aaron - I love being a "parent" with you.

  4. Mom! So glad you are reading/commenting on our blog ;) You were there to see her take her first steps - and I know you would have loved seeing her first doggy paddle also. I videotaped it just for you!

  5. Congratulations, Ava! Zoe isn't there yet. I wish we had a pool to practice. Mama tought me how to swim when I was very young, it's a great skill to have. And not to fear water. Zoe is scared of being left alone yet. At least she was in january. What will happen this summer? Who knows!

  6. By the way, Aaron comments rock!!!

  7. Julie

    Thank you so much for the compliment.

    Truth be told I am not much of a wordsmith, but when given the opportunity to write about something I love I usually manage to stick enough words together to make a somewhat coherent thought.

    Thanks again for taking the time to add that in.

  8. You're welcome Aaron. I enjoy your tales very much.


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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